One of the ramifications of the drought Spain suffers from, and which is, however, lately eased by a rain and a decrease in cereal harvest as well as green fodder. This has a direct effect across all industries that require straw for raw materials and includes mushrooms.
Straw is a vital component of the soil on which mushrooms grow and is the reason its shortage has led to a spike in costs that are already hurting the industry of fresh mushrooms, and, in the next few months processing industries is also likely to be affected having already had to deal with the rising costs of other materials as well as energy prices.
“It is evident that we’re facing the current situation with anxiety and uncertainty” declares Santiago Salinas, general manager of Eurochamp. “The factories that produce mushrooms which are supplying us situated in La Rioja, are at an impasse, as there is no production in the summer however, if the prices stay the same as they were in September, they will render the production of canned mushrooms virtually uneconomical.”
“To consider the effect the industry will suffer we must consider that out within a 20-kilogram container of compost, 8 kilograms include straw. The price last year was between 45 and 46 Euro per ton. Today we can see costs as high as $150 EUR per ton. However, it is certainly more then 100 EUR. When it comes to mushroom production it is about 12 to 15 cents per kilogram produced.”
“Fresh mushroom marketing is a domestic affair and there’s no directly competing with other nations, therefore the industry is able to absorb this rise in prices because they won’t be frightened from other companies,” says Santiago. “But in our situation canned mushroom marketing, it is international.”
“In Europe, we are the third-largest producer of processed mushrooms, behind Poland and the Netherlands. Netherlands and Poland and dry spell is only impacting us. The Netherlands or Poland are experiencing any shortage of straw, and their prices are actually less due to the fact that energy costs are dropping. The prices reached their peak this year. So, although we’ll also be able to profit by the reduction in energy and packaging costs however, we don’t believe that the market will be able to withstand the increase that higher costs for straw will cause.”
“Today we’re talking about the price of goods, however we might be discussing specifically about the shortages”
Eurochamp is an SAT which specializes in canned mushroom which is the biggest at a the national level, and among the biggest companies within the industry within Europe. The partners of Eurochamp are the mushroom farmers which are connected to the SATs of composting plants “so we can control the entire process from starting point to the production of the finished product.”
“Last year it was the case that the Rioja sector had already been in touch due to an issue with the health of the mushroom crop. This fresh challenge has forced us to recognize that we need to work together to address typical issues that plague La Rioja. Like others, we’re soliciting assistance from government administrations in order to deal with the effects of drought on the sector of mushrooms.”
The Cereals sectoral council of Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias de Espana has estimated the crop for 2023 to be 9.1 million tonnes, which will be nearly 49% lower than the previous season, and 60.6 percent less than the average over the past three years. The drop in straw production is bound to be proportional. “Today we’re talking about costs, but in the future we may be discussing shortages directly.”
“The extremely low rainfall is the primary reason behind this whole. In the event that 2023 has become a worry then 2024 may become even more worrying due to the impact from El Nino and the possible increase in the severity of drought.”
“That is the reason it’s crucial for us, as operators to meet with the administrators and make decision. It is possible that this year’s decision will be the one next year,” said Santiago.
For more information:
Carretera de Calahorra, km 1,6
26560 Autol, La Rioja. Spain
Tel. : +34 941 390 078
Source: The Plantations International Agroforestry Group of Companies