PANIC Buying, store closures and consumer lockdowns have seen agricultural prices soar as farmers struggle to keep up with demand.
Distributors in the province have seen demand for items such as tomatoes
and avocados triple in this past week as shoppers strip shelves and hoard items ready for the isolation imposed by local authorities.
Miguel, a worker at the Llano de los Frailes factory in Torrox has explained that this past Saturday, workers were in the fields around the clock to keep up with orders, and the traditional Saturday ‘bullfight’ auction saw prices increase dramatically.
Tomatoes increased from around €0.40 cents per kilo to over €1.53. Green
peppers surged to nearly €3 and courgettes went from €0.50 to over €1.
From these prices, the final product seen on the shelves of larger supermarkets will be much higher.
The SAT Citrima Cítricos, located in the Guadalhorce valley is one of the largest producers of oranges, tangerines and lemons in Malaga and has also seen an increase in production, although it insists that prices will remain competitive.
“We are working every day, including Saturdays and Sundays” explained its manager, Guillermo Aranda.
However they maintained that they were not taking advantage of the unique and drastic situation currently hitting Spain.
“We are not doing business or taking advantage of the situation. This is not the time to do business, but to collaborate with the population.
“In fact, the prices we have, have hardly moved. We are selling oranges for between €0.30 and €0.40 per kilo and lemons for €0.50, when the average so far has been €0.42,” he added.
On average, producers have seen an increase in demand of 20%, including
canned vegetable producer Alsur de Antequera.
But co-owner Teresa Jimenez warned that they can only produce as much as stock will allow.
“What we cannot do is produce more because we work with vegetable products that are produced per season,” said Jimenez.
On the other side of the coin, Axarquian fishermen are feeling the struggle as chiringuitos, bars and restaurants close their doors.
The industry has seen drops of nearly €3 per kilo of popular catches such as lubina and dorada.
The closure of public fish markets has also hit the industry hard, and workers are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Many of the people who go to the auctions at the fish markets are restaurateurs to buy the fish they offer in their menus, but if they are closed they are customers who will stop coming,” said María del Carmen Navas Guerrero, president of the Fishermen’s Association in Axarquia.