Spanish strawberry growers are facing substantial increases in picking costs this season that may curtail the length of the export season, according to trade sources.

Freshhuelva, which represents about 80% of the industry, estimates that overall production costs in some instances have risen 70%, due to higher labour costs and inflation, while prices have been static and even down on those of 15 years ago.

One solution has been to produce greater volumes of fruit and the area planted has reached 7,300ha, up 3%. Another has been to expand raspberry production, growing popular varieties headed by Tulameen.