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How Spanish mushroom production will overcome this issue?

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Spain is the 3rd largest European mushroom producer.

Spanish mushroom farms are worried that drought that affect areas of practically all of Spain causes critical reduce of straw quantity. As UMDIS was told during our visit in Spain in the end of April, straw prices very much complicate the viability of mushroom cultivation. The largest player of Spanish mushroom market – cooperative Champinter – admits that the situation is really bad. Also, recently the publication on this topic appeared on Freshplaza (https://www.freshplaza.es/article/9531364/en-europa-ya-hay-paises-que-han-dejado-de-producir-champinon-por-falta-de-compost/).Large increase in straw price is notable. “The straw price has increased between 100 and 150% in just a couple of months, because the winter and the beginning of the spring there was not any rain. And it is likely that the price continues increasing”, – explains to UMDIS some days ago the representative of Champinter compost yard.

Some other things to fully understand the situation.

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In Spain, straw is used to feed the cattle and for the generation of biomass for renewable energy. Those sectors (mostly renewable energy sector) are more “powerful” than mushroom sector, so they have larger access to straw.

Besides the drought, other issues made the situation with the straw hard: war in Ukraine, fuel and energy prices, mainly gas (as a motivation to use straw for generation of renewable energy). In addition, the countries of the Middle East have increased the purchase of straw to feed their animals. Another factor is a problem with transportation. Possibly the new regulations in Spain that prohibit and reduce the use of plastics will mean that manufacturers of this type of packaging will also look towards straw to produce packaging from it. Since straw contains cellulose and is actually valid for packaging.

As cooperative Champinter representative tells UMDIS, the total consumption of straw for mushrooms in Spain must be around 300 million kilos per year.

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