The cold weather that swept across the Iberian Mainland and caused so much devastation to vegetables this winter benefitted, however, the fruit trees.
The manager of Apoexpa, Joaquín Gómez, told Fruit Today euromagazine that “this campaign’s quality expectations, which have already started to give its first fruits, are excellent. It has been years since we last saw the trees as they are now, with such uniformity in all the species.”
The temperatures recorded in the first fortnight of April were very constant and mild, without any important alterations, between 8 and 27 degrees. “The weather has behaved in a very orderly way, bringing cold when we needed it and rain when it was necessary,” Gómez remarks. Once everything was ready at source, “what we want is for Europe to have some warm temperatures and the supermarkets to begin to meet their schedules.”
Regarding the volumes, reduced last year due to the frosts that affected the Cieza region, everything indicates that they will return to the normality of 2015, since the trees are presenting a normal harvest.
By species, flat peaches and nectarines will be very closely matched, around 70,000 tonnes. The volumes of peaches, not taking into account the yellow variety, could reach 30,000 tonnes.
Furthermore, produce availability will be right for the dates and no agglomerations are foreseen, unless there are heat waves. Red peaches will arrive until the end of June and flat peaches from May to July.
Two external questions hover over the campaign: the crisis management steps due to the Russian veto and the devaluation of the pound, as a result of Brexit.
“Although there are no developments or concerns about the British market in this campaign, obviously there is some anxiety, which we hope will be resolved in the best way possible,” the executive states.
After the citrus fruits, stone fruit holds the second place in terms of export. In 2016, 1,039,067 tonnes were sold, 2% less than in 2015, for a value of 1,095 million euros (-1%). Of this amount, 418,814 tonnes corresponded to nectarines, 11% less than in 2015, for a value of 413.4 million euros (-8%) and 407,402 tonnes corresponded to peaches (+7%) for a value of 387 million euros (+7%). The shipments of plums made a total of 109,184 tonnes, the same volume as in 2015, for a value of 112 million euros (+4%); there were 80,010 tonnes of apricots, the same amount as in 2015, for a value of 115.3 million euros (+1%), and the cherry harvest reached 23,657 tonnes (-31%) for a value of 67.5 million euros (-2%), according to figures from the General Customs Office, processed by FEPEX.
92% of the total exports of stone fruit from Spain were sent to the EU, reaching a figure of 957,394 tonnes, whilst the remaining 82,203 tonnes were sent to third countries. The value of the shipments to the EU was 998.4 million euros and the value of the exports outside the EU was 97.8 million euros.
Outside the European Community, 2016 was the first year when stone fruit was exported to China. The shipments included 779 tonnes of plums, 29 tonnes of peaches and 22 tonnes of nectarines.