The Spanish company Aznar Fruits, a citrus producer, has adapted the full extent of its production to Bayer’s Food Chain programme of healthy, safe and sustainable production. One of the initiatives carried out in this vein is pest monitoring, by which the fields are examined and when a particular pest is detected, a timely treatment is applied only to the affected area but not widely, fostering more sustainable production from an environmental point of view and one that is healthier for consumption.
However, this is not the only challenge this company from Almeria has taken on for this campaign; it has renewed the tractors on all of the farms and purchased new equipment to implement more effective kinds of treatment. They are also immersed in studying late clementine varieties to introduce them, though they are waiting to see what happens with the various patents.
Furthermore, as Gregorio Aznar, manager of Aznar Fruits, points out: “Some of the goals for this campaign involved obtaining the GRASP certification, which we have already obtained, and continuing in the second half of the season with the same quality we've had so far, which has enabled us to cope quite well with a campaign that at first threatened big uncertainties due to international tensions that tend to affect the markets.”
In addition to the GRASP certification and being in Bayer’s Food Chain programme, Aznar Fruits also has the Global-Gasp and IFS Food certifications for export and storage.
In terms of production, Gregorio Aznar says they expect to harvest 4,000 tons of lemons, 4,500 t of oranges and 3,500 t of clementines, which would mean about a 20% drop in oranges and clementines, and 5% in lemons “because last season was exceptional, well above average, and the trees were under a lot of pressure, so as a result this year the production is lower.”
Moreover, in a campaign in which the sanctions imposed by Russia against imports of various products from Europe, including citrus, are influencing the sector, “we are interested in expanding into Middle Eastern markets like Dubai or India, among others, and now with the Russian embargo the European markets are more saturated.” 95% of Aznar Fruits’ production is for export and its main export markets are Germany and Italy, though they reach all of Europe.