Spain’s 2020 stone fruit crop is set to shrink by at least 15%, according to estimates by FEPEX, with similar drops expected to be recorded in other major European producers, Italy and France. Harvesting is already well underway in the earliest region, Andalucia, with the sector’s organisation Asociafruit projecting the region’s peach and nectarine volumes will fall from 49 million tons in 2019 to 40 million tons this year. Meanwhile, Murcia expects early-season production to decline by as much as 20%, according to Apoexpa. Production is expected to pick up by mid-season. The northern regions of Aragon and Catalonia also expect a reduction in volume of around 20%, although harvesting has yet to commence in these areas.
The fall in output is largely attributable to the shrinkage in production area, especially in Catalonia and Extremadura (-2,000ha in each region). The sector has been in crisis for several years now, especially since the implementation of the embargo on exports to Russia. The situation has certainly not been helped by the current uncertainty relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.