Drought disaster for industrial growers in Seville

This year, the drought has destabilized the tomato sector, which is important for the province of Seville. Cultivation of industrial tomatoes provides significant employment in the region around the mouth of the Guadalquivir River.

“For the grower’s association Las Marismas de Lebrija SCA, the cultivation of industrial tomatoes accounts for around 65% of the turnover, but that percentage is actually even higher if we take into account the indirect impact on, for example, the suppliers of raw materials and horticulture. In year we, who process plants with a capacity of 5 million kilos of tomatoes per day, were forced to shut down. It is a huge loss in terms of turnover and employment,” says José Tejero, president of the cooperative.

“This incessant drought is a complete disaster. We have been forced to apply for a temporary unemployment scheme on the basis of force majeure. This scheme will last until the start of the cotton harvest in September. Currently, under normal circumstances, there are more than 500 people would work in our cooperative. The consequences of this lost season are therefore enormous for the region. In total, this region will lose more than €110 million.”

As an alternative to the traditional summer crops, and especially tomato cultivation, Las Marismas de Lebrija SCA decided to plant other crops with a lower water demand to still achieve some turnover. Chickpeas and sunflowers were grown there for the first time in the cooperative’s history, as a result of the sharp rise in the price of sunflowers due to the war in Ukraine.

“We are also partially compensating for the loss of tomato cultivation with a larger area of ​​cotton cultivation,” adds José Tejero. “But there is also a lack of water for this crop, so yields will be lower than normal. The heat waves, especially at the end of May/beginning of June, have caused quite a bit of damage.”

José Tejero, president of Las Marismas de Lebrija SCA

“In addition, this year we had to deal with a tough attitude from the markets to the horticulture sector. Since we had almost no water available, we planned a carrot season in which we had to invest significant amounts. It is a traditional crop in our wetlands. , but we couldn’t harvest carrots in the end. We had to plow them in. It was a high quality carrot. The growing cycle was fully completed and so it cost us a lot, but it has become a loss crop because the markets decided not to confiscate. “

“It happened to hundreds of growers throughout the region. It shows once again that compliance with the Spanish food chain law must be enforced to at least cover the cultivation costs. There is a lack of attention and empathy for horticulture, while being responsible for the production of food for the whole community.”

“We hope that autumn will bring us the much-needed rain. We have already started to sow cauliflower and broccoli in seed trays in order to be able to transplant the plants into the open country in September or October. Now the costs of fuel, electricity and raw materials are skyrocketing in the weather, we foresee a difficult season, but the limiting factor remains the lack of water, because without it we are really nothing.”

“Fortunately, we are in one of the most valuable horticultural areas in all of Europe”, points out the president of this important cooperative in the south of the province of Seville. “Our saline wetland and the entrepreneurial spirit among the members of our cooperative have enabled us to become an important player in the sector. We also have very efficient irrigation systems, which is extremely important given the situation. For these reasons, we continue to fight for the survival of this sector.”

“Here we grow a tomato that is valued all over the world because the lycopene content is higher than that of other tomatoes. The entire ripening cycle is based on sunlight, which results in a tomato with an extraordinary color, quality and taste. Hence the great demand. “

“This board works daily to find the best solutions for our growers, and also looks at new crops to cover different markets and to acquire new customers so that we can continue to grow in competitiveness. Las Marismas de Lebrija SCA has We has developed a solid model over the last 42 years and we have the structure and know-how to regain our important position in the sector when we have water again.”

For more information:
Las Marismas de Lebrija SCA
Pole. Industrial Las Marismas. Plot 1. 029-BB
41740 Lebrija (Seville) – Spain
Telephone: +34 955 97 70 11

Leave a Comment