After the heavy rain in Spain last month, the supply of outdoor vegetables is limited. “We are located in the Tarragona region, and we have had no water problems here, but all of the vegetables were flooded in the area from Cartagena to Murcia. I expect that there will be major problems in the long run, when the young plants come into production,” says Rien Paans from Verfru Europe.
“In the south of Spain, mostly lettuce, endive and spinach were lost. That is why you currently see many French buying these vegetables in Tarragona. We did not have weather problems, although it gets a bit cold at night, with temperatures about freezing, but we do not have problems with the plantings,” Paans says. Verfru Europe’s biggest product is oxheart cabbage, followed by cauliflower, broccoli and kale.
“Prices of outdoor vegetables are much higher than last year. Because many growers are already struggling to meet their mandatory arrangements, there is very little product available for the free market. Broccoli prices are 30 to 40 per cent higher than last year. Broccoli can take quite a few hits, but not if it is standing in water. The prices of iceberg lettuce also sky-rocketed just after the rainfall.”
From Spain, Paans completely focuses on customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. “Because we make programmes with Spanish cultivators, the cultivators are guaranteed an income. Eighty per cent of our trade is sold in advance, and additionally, we sell the surplus production. We have permanent programmes towards cutting plants, and in addition, we are looking for permanent lines in the Netherlands. For that, we prefer to work with one sales point per wholesaler’s market. We are currently active on five markets.”