10 fruity facts about the industry in Huelva…
-The strawberry season can start as early as December and run until June but the peak is from February until April
– Last year nearly 65,000 women – mainly immigrants from Romania, Poland and Morocco – were hired to pick strawberries in Huelva.
-Strawberry farming brings in an annual profit in the region of 320 million euros.
-Police in Huelva arrested four Romanian youngsters aged between 19 and 25 last month for trying to steal 750kg of strawberries worth 1,800 euros.
-In 2007 the WWF warned that strawberry plantations in Huelva were threatening the Donana National Park by depleting the water sources.
– The divorce rate in Huelva is said to go up in strawberry season as the influx of beautiful immigrant workers prove too much temptation for the village men.
– Spain is the world’s biggest strawberry exporter with about 90 percent of Spain’s strawberries grown in Huelva where strawberry production began in the early 1980s.
– Hard times in the recession have forced many Spaniards back to the fields to find work fruit picking but they face stiff competition from the lower-earning immigrants who come every year.
-A new strawberry picking robot from Japan, which is able to detect the colour of a ripe strawberry via special cameras, threatens to eliminate thousands of the jobs.
– Sadly, immigrant strawberry pickers have fallen victim to sexual harassment and blackmail, with the owners of plantations visiting them at night for sex. Last year for the first time, eight Moroccan women, aged 18 to 30, actually reported five different owners to the police.