© Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
Spain’s Afrucat stone fruit committee has agreed an Emergency Plan to protect the sector through a range of short- and long-term measures, including a request to the Ministry for a start plan consisting of 10,000 hectares throughout the Spain in Catalonia, Aragon, Murcia and Extremadura. This plan would remove about 300 million kilos of peaches and nectarines from the European market (25% of which is controlled by Spanish production). According to the director general of Afrucat, Manel Simon, this measure could be enough to reverse the negative trend that has seen the sector hit by a series of losses since the end of summer 2014 when the Russian veto began.
The association estimates that Cataluña’s stone fruit sector alone will lose €90 million this campaign and expects the Spanish ministry to invest €50 million in the aforementioned plan. Sisco Palau, president of the Afrucat Stone Fruit Committee highlights the need to apply the measures “in a sector that has been heavily affected by losing three consecutive campaigns and suffering cost increases.” Palau insists on the importance of uniting the entire sector (organisations and unions) and extending this union to other state organisations.
Other measures proposed include investments in reducing production and plant costs with the implementation of existing innovations, as well as campaigns for promoting consumption and the opening of new markets for Spanish fruit.
The 2019 stone fruit campaign was marked by a full European production of peach and nectarine, with a 10% increase in volumes. The calibres were fair and there was a saturation of markets caused by the high amount of stone fruit in the traditional European markets due to the ongoing Russian veto.
Spanish producers are counting the cost of a deadly weather front that struck last week. Storm Gloria is reported to have wreaked the worst damage on citrus and vegetable production along the country’s eastern coast between Barcelona and Murcia, with losses estimated to run to €46 million.
Winds reaching over 110km per hour left a lot of fruit on the ground. Valencian agricultural association Ava-Asaja reported many farms still being under water days later, raising fears about the prospects for the second half of the campaign if conditions persist. Some flooded fields are expected to see whole crops wiped out. In recently planted potato and onions fields, farmers will be forced to replant. In terms of vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes and lettuce are among the worst affected crops.
One benefit of the heavy rains is that the region’s reservoirs have been replenished, easing water restrictions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said in a statement on Wednesday that all production losses from Gloria would be covered by the National Agrarian Insurance Plan. This includes losses to next year’s harvest resulting from damage to farms.
Following Spain’s avocado boom, the sector is experiencing issues which were previously encountered with other products, such as persimmon, pomegranate, and almond. The fruit’s profitability has led to a shortage of seedlings and rocketing prices. Sudden growth can be followed by saturation and price slumps. This is why agronomist with the Ministry of Agriculture, Tomás Faulí, advised producers at a recent event in Valencia to develop organic avocado to clearly differentiate the market.
The main pests are the crystalline mite and soil fungi, such as Rosellinia and Phitóphtora, but both can be controlled with organic methods, without having to resort to chemical pesticides. This mite is less harmful than those that affect citrus and some vegetables, and can be kept at bay by favouring natural populations of phytoseids (their enemies).
Source: Las Provincias
The cold snap that hit Spain in the first weeks of January has hurt production and will see prices rise, reports national newspaper El País.
Production of fruit and vegetables in the key zones of Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia has been reduced by 20-30% in recent weeks compared to the same period last year, it says.
As a result, the prices of some products – such as courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes – have soared to record levels.
The paper said that, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, farmgate prices have reached €3.5/kg for courgettes (zucchini), €3.1/kg for aubergine (eggplant), €1.3/kg for round tomatoes and €2.5/kg for lettuce.
The reduction in production has caused some shortages both within Spain and also in EU countries it exports to.
Both greenhouse and open field production have been affected by the cold snap. For the latter, the losses were worst for leaf crops such as lettuce, broccoli, celery, cabbage, artichoke and endives, the paper said.
source: Los precios de las hortalizas se disparan por la caída de la producción
image: CC0 Public Domain Pixabay by tpsdave