The Spanish say, “Me importa un pepino,” which translates into “I couldn’t give a fig or damn.” Well Costa Pepinos are damned, that’s for sure.
With around two million kilos dumped, representing a loss to farmers of some 400,000 euros, and defeat is in the air – cucumber farmers have returned, crestfallen, to taking their crops into the fruit-clearing exchanges at a price of less than half of what it costs them to grow the produce.
The blame? Some point to a warmer-than-usual December, which has increased the crop output by 30%, while others blame the ‘speculators;’ i.e, the big food chains, but where as both these points may be valid, the truth probably lies elsewhere; there are simply too many cucumbers being grown.
It doesn’t matter if the weather this year boosted the crop size because there are already too many cucumbers even without this growth nudge. It doesn’t matter if unscrupulous supermarket, food chains screw the price right down only to put cucumbers on their shelves at prices over 500% more than they paid for them, allegedly.
It doesn’t matter simply because everybody is churning out cucumbers and nobody eats that many salads.
Even if all the farmers turned round and collectively thought, “hang on a moment; we can’t all grow cucumbers,” there is still the problem that there is no unity in the sector. Pepe is no sooner dumping most of his crop than Paco is thinking that now is a good time with Pepe out of the way to sell and get a better price.
Crop dumping only works if everybody unanimously dumps together.
That is simply never going to happen because there are too many Pacos in this world. So, only when it hurts enough, and often enough, will farmers start a bit of agricultural diversity.
(News/Editorial: Costa Tropical)