The black truffle season, Tuber Melanosporum, is about to begin. That’s why it’s worth considering Spain’s role in the international marketing of this product, and surprisingly, the data doesn’t deceive: last year, over 100 tons of black truffle were produced in the country, accounting for 60% of the global total, with 80% of it exported north of the Pyrenees. Thus, Spain has become the largest exporter of black truffle, surpassing France.
The autonomous communities that concentrate the entire production include Valencia, especially in the areas of Castellón and Valencia, Aragon (Zaragoza, Huesca), Castilla-La Mancha (Cuenca, Guadalajara), Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y León (Soria), and Catalonia (Tarragona, Barcelona, Lleida). According to data from the Secretary of State for Trade, this production represents over 25 million euros in exports. In fact, Teruel is the province that exports the most, followed by Lleida, Valencia, Tarragona, and Huesca in fifth place, according to Dataconex data extracted from the website of the Secretary of State for Trade in Spain’s foreign trade statistics.
This situation arises because wild truffles are scarce in nature, contrary to popular belief, so almost the entire production occurs in controlled plantations. Currently, there are 15,000 hectares dedicated to truffle cultivation in Spain, according to the Federation of Truffle Growers Associations. This also has a significant impact on employment, with the black truffle cultivation business generating between 5,000 and 7,000 jobs in the country, according to sector sources.
Revenue from Tuber Melanosporum truffles has been continuously increasing, although exact data by autonomous community are not available. In the case of Teruel, while in 2012-2013, sales of Tuber Melanosporum truffles amounted to nearly 900,000 euros, by 2014, it almost doubled, reaching 1.5 million. There was a significant increase again in 2017, with sales reaching a revenue of 5.9 million, and in 2019, it further increased to 8.5 million. Despite the challenges in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, truffle exports grew to exceed 8.6 million, a figure that rose to 12.77 million in the past year.