Generalised drop in all communities
After the worst campaign in living memory for the citrus fruit growers, which has been translated into losses that run into millions for many producers, the new one is starting out very cautiously, but with better prospects.
The drop in production recorded in all the autonomous communities (except for some specific product peaks in Malaga) has a great deal to do with this. The offer, therefore, will clearly be more manageable.
The sales contract prices were reasonable up to the end of September. All the sources consulted talk about taking advantage of the good quality of the fruit this year and “that this trend continues throughout the season.” Likewise, they warn that “the marketing of green oranges or fruit that has been previously degreened constitutes a fraud for consumers, going against the interests of the entire sector and producing a negative effect on the product image.”
The first harvest forecasts marked out by the Ministry of Agriculture for this campaign foresee 17% less produce, with a figure of 6.27 million tonnes, which could drop once the damage caused by the cold drop that affected a region as productive as the Vega Baja del Segura have been effectively valued.
For many farmers the risk of a rise in prices does not compensate for this drop in production. This year’s drop is related to last year’s production surplus, since when many oranges are left on the trees, the trees themselves suffer and do not produce as much fruit as before, or they directly do not give any fruit.
Region of Valencia
Citrus fruit harvest forecasts in the Community of Valencia. Campaign 2019/20
Andalusia drops by 7%
This community will harvest 1.6 million tonnes of sweet oranges (73% of the total), 451,000 tonnes of mandarins (21%), 102,300 tonnes of lemons (5%), around 22,000 tonnes of grapefruit and almost 12,000 tonnes of other citrus fruits. The production drops by 7% due to the decrease in sweet oranges and lemons.
The Sevillian forecasts show a harvest of 868,788 tonnes compared to the 934,976 of 2018, that is to say, 7% less. Throughout the region there is a rising trend in mandarin productions compared to sweet oranges.
Murcia drops by 14%
The September forecasts made by Ailimpo (The Interprofessional Lemon and Grapefruit Association) give a figure of 1.11 million tonnes, which means 14.61% less than in the previous, record-breaking campaign, which reached 1.3 million tonnes.
Sources from the Association explain a rise compared to the forecast made in July because a better estimate can now be made regarding the development the Verna lemon variety, the latest one, of which last campaign 382,000 tonnes were collected, as well as readjustments in Fino lemons (918.000 tonnes in 2018/2019). In July, 845,000 tonnes were calculated for the Fino, an amount that has dropped to 820,000 now, meaning a 10.67% drop. On the other hand, for the Verna, the variety has risen to 290,000.
The organisation considers the volume forecasted should be qualified as “average” with a campaign that allows Spain to consolidate its presence in third countries such as Canada, the United States or the Middle East.
Spain is the second country in the world in the processing of lemons and their derivatives, and it is calculated that between 20 and 25% is used for juices, essential oils and dehydrated peel.
16 steps between the Ministry and the Autonomous Regions
At the beginning of April this year, the Ministry, the Autonomous Regions and the sector itself approved a 16-step plan to adjust the offer, improve the structure, encourage internationalisation and, in short, revitalise the citrus fruit trade and guarantee its future.
Having reached this point, there are many different opinions, since from Madrid the indications show that the imported volumes during the last campaign were smaller than the previous one, but Cooperativas Alimentarias underscore not only this point, but also the importance of the trade agreements with extra-EU countries having reciprocal guarantees on the subject of plant protection, as well as for the social protection of the workers to compete on a level playing field. They also demand the strict fulfilment of the quotas, regarding amounts and sanitary conditions, endangering the European crops.
With regard to the declarations by the CAP on variety and year of plantation, this is the first time that this information is available and it will be completed in the near future with data from the General Register of Holdings (REGEPA).