The ongoing protests by farmers in some European countries have posed significant challenges to the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector, particularly over the last two weeks.
The closure of roads on the border between Spain and France has impacted trucks carrying produce destined for distributors in Germany and the United Kingdom.
Only 20% of these shipments, nearly 194,000 tons, were directed towards the French market, resulting in estimated losses of around €100 million for Spanish producers and exporters.
In January 2023, Spain exported 1.2 million tons of fruits and vegetables valued at nearly €1.6 billion, with oranges (202,000 tons) and mandarins (186,000 tons) leading the sales, as reported by the Spanish newspaper, Perfil.
The newspaper indicated that the Employers' Association and the Union of Fruit and Vegetable Producers and Exporters accuse Spain of harming their interests.
The most affected provinces include Almeria, Valencia, Murcia, Castellon, Alicante, and Huelva, with significant losses in both load and value.
The blockade's impact varied, with an estimated average reduction of 20% during normal times. Given that 90% of the exports are destined for Europe and 94% are transported by road, the protests have had negative repercussions on the farmers and their relationship with distributors.
The halt in sales has led to significant disruptions in collection and losses, forcing a slowdown or complete stoppage of harvesting due to uncertainties in transporting perishable goods.
This situation is compounded by the need to store produce due to the lack of sales outlets, increasing maintenance costs, and additional losses due to product deterioration.
Due to road closures, many shipments failed to reach their destinations on time and under the agreed conditions, resulting in penalties.
Although these are exceptional cases, the absence of agreed-upon products opened opportunities for suppliers from other countries, leading to price reductions or redundancies in the main export production areas.