Despite the respite brought by the rains of recent days in this month of May, the long drought that has been affecting the Spanish countryside for more than a year has plunged the sector into a crisis that is causing irreparable losses. To the affected crops we must add a new victim, the mushroom, whose production depends directly on the straw. But less and less has been collected for months, and it is very expensive.
The so-called common mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is a mushroom that is cultivated commercially under different varieties, that is, it is not collected from the wild as is the case with other mushrooms. to grow you need decomposing organic matterbeing the most used compost in Spain a combination of natural straw with substrates and chicken manure.
As happens with livestock when the price of feed or fodder to feed the animals rises, mushroom producers face a serious crisis because they cannot have the basic raw material with which to develop their product. Little straw arrives from fewer and fewer suppliers, and the price that arrives has gone up a lot, an increase also derived from the demand multiplication from the livestock sector.
Little straw for so many mushrooms
They already advanced it last week from the Albacete Cooperative Society Champinter, whose president, Elias Olmedaaffirmed to agroinformation that the recent increase in straw prices “enormously” complicates the maintenance of production and that, if it continues like this, “in the end the straw will not reach the ranchers or the mushroom producers, or it will do so unfeasible prices”.
Another key producing area for mushrooms in Spain is the Lower Riojawhere the cultivation of this fungus represents economic figures that place it as the second most important agricultural product in the Community, behind wine. Santiago Salinaspresident of the Eurochamp cooperative, affirms that “the situation, which comes from last year, is dramaticand now the perfect storm is coming”, according to statements collected by The newspaper of Spain. “If there is no straw, there is no production,” she says.
Only Navarra has been saved this year from the drought that has devastated this Spanish dryland, and the new harvest, which starts at this time, is not looking rosy. There is hardly any straw to collect, and usually the first batches are used for livestock, leaving the “old straw” for mushroom growers. Given the forecast of a lack of sufficient straw, they are resorting to purchasing it from other countries, but things are not looking any better in Europe either.
According to Jorge Heraspresident of the Champra cooperative, affirms that in France the price triplesand everything indicates that it will continue to increase, since added circumstances such as the ukrainian war and the energy crisis have increased the demand for straw for the generation of renewable energy. There is also a greater interest in buying European straw from countries in the Middle East.
The pessimism of the cooperatives leads us to glimpse a disastrous near future for a sector that was taking off in Spain, because, if the situation continues, they will be forced to interrupt or drastically reduce production. So, it will have to import mushrooms fresh and canned from countries like the Netherlands or Poland.
“A part will be passed on to the Final clientanother will be eaten by the companies and another by the farmer,” warns Salinas. For the president of Champinter in Albacete, the straw crisis must be urgently addressed by the administrations.
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