How has the pandemic affected your operations?
Sergio Sinova, general manager
The availability of personnel has become one of the greatest challenges for all producers, regardless of origin, for various reasons: increased salary costs, restrictions on hiring foreign personnel due to limitations on international mobility to combat Covid-19 and increased personal space requirements for each worker to prevent contagion. All of this has resulted in fewer workers and lower productivity, or in extraordinary costs to adapt facilities to Covid-19 protocols. Like all companies, we have had to bear significant costs to adapt our facilities to Covid-19 protocols. Similarly, we’ve seen an increase in labour costs resulting from having to alternate personnel in our facilities, and we have had to constantly replace personnel in the event of Covid-19 infections. In addition, production rates have been reduced by having to prioritise space and reduce the number of workers in the warehouses.
How has it affected marketing, consumption and logistics?
The food service restrictions diverted demand for fresh green asparagus to greengrocers and supermarkets. The 2020 Spanish campaign largely coincided with the March-May lockdown, which reduced fresh asparagus consumption, especially early in the campaign. The domestic and import campaigns don’t overlap, so consumers don’t have to choose between them. In fact, consumption during the domestic campaign makes them more likely to know the product and thus buy it more often the rest of the year. In the asparagus sector, the greatest impact of Covid-19 has been on air freight logistics for imported products. Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of asparagus was sent to Europe on passenger planes, whose routes have been cancelled during the pandemic.