During the two years of the pandemic, the lack of Chinese garlic caused many markets to turn their eyes to Spanish garlic. "We conquered the US and Canada. They like our fresh product a lot because it is better than the product from other places. Purple garlic is becoming more and more popular, and the European way of producing it is highly valued; we have to take advantage of that. We have to maintain those markets, " said the National Garlic Table president and the cooperative Ajos de Las Pedroñeras, Julio Bacote.
According to Ministry data, Spain exported less than 9,000 tons of garlic to the US in 2018 to more than 24,000 tons worth more than 66,790,000 euros in 2021.
The campaign started with no stock in the warehouses. Despite this very positive start, the sector has not changed its price expectations. "It seems that prices started low, but that's always normal. In addition, we have not seen any Brazilian or Taiwanese customers, who sometimes come at the beginning of the campaign and want to be the first to buy garlic. I think that didn't happen this year because there still is a lot of Chinese garlic that has not come out, and I suppose it's about to come out," he said.
The release of these Chinese garlic stocks can be one of the campaign's handicaps. "China has not taken out much garlic. It has also closed its borders several times, so they have their garlic there. The Chinese have a large industry, and they might use it to make powdered garlic or essential oil. They have their garlic and, once they bring it out, it will make the fresh garlic market or the processed garlic market fall," he stated.
Currently, the garlic's price after coming out of the warehouses ranges from2 euro to 2.50 euro. Producers are being paid around 70 cents per kilo, according to Bacote. This price is below production costs, he stressed.