Strumica’s cabbage growers struggling to keep up with growing demand

Strumica’s cabbage growers struggling to keep up with growing demand

After several days of selling their spring cabbage for 20 denars per kilogram, Strumica’s cabbage growers have upped the price to 27-28 denars. Even so, growers are hardly able to keep up supply of spring cabbage to foreign partners as the crop nears the end of its growing season, cabbage buyers told MIA’s Strumica correspondent.

According to Blazho Vitanov from Imperial Fruit Company, despite being warned, growers had not sown enough spring cabbage to meet the demand by foreign buyers.

“Even at the increased purchase price to 27-28 denars per kilogram of spring cabbage, the quantities are simply not enough. I am literally asking for a kilo or two more so I can honor my business partner agreements,” Vitanov said.

“To be specific, four trucks are waiting to be loaded with cabbage, but there is no production,” he added.

Farmers confirm that the spring cabbage season is coming to an end. According to them, however, the insufficient supply is a result of not signing production deals in advance as well as this year’s uncharacteristically bad weather conditions.

“If we don’t want to have such issues with supply dwindling as demand increases, next time buyers need to sign deals with spring cabbage growers based on their agreements with foreign partners so the farmers know exactly how much to produce and who for,” Strumica’s Independent Farmers Union president Risto Velkov said.

Also, he noted, in his forty years of experience as a farmer, he had never seen such bad weather conditions for cabbage growers.

“Clearly,” he added, “climate change has dramatically decreased horticultural and agricultural production. Now we see its consequences in spring cabbage, but the same will happen to other produce as well.”

Urging the state and fellow farmers to start finding solutions to climate change, Velkov suggested that the problem may also be overcome by planting crops that are more resistant to unfavorable weather conditions.

Spring cabbage from the Strumica region is mostly sold in the markets of Serbia, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine.