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Spanish stone fruit sector under immense pressure

Spanish stone fruit sector under immense pressure, credit. Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
© 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.

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Spanish agriculture counts cost of Storm Gloria

Spanish agriculture counts cost of Storm Gloria, Credit: Emilio Morenatti, AccuWeather
© Emilio Morenatti, AccuWeather


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.

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Rises in Spain’s strawberry, tomato crops

New estimates for Spain’s 2016 fruit and vegetable harvest show the total of tomatoes harvested over Jan 1-May 31 is forecast to be up 3.9% on last year, to more than 1.08 million tons, while the raspberry crop is expected to be 13.1% higher and that of strawberries is set to rise 7.9% to 342,700 tons.

Spain’s raspberry crop is expected to be 13.1% higher this year, relative to 2015, reaching 19,000 tons, while that of strawberries is set to rise 7.9% to 342,700 tons.

The latest – and very preliminary – estimates for Spain’s 2016 fruit and vegetable harvest from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Magrama) – as at the end of April – also show that the total of tomatoes harvested Jan 1-May 31 is forecast to be up 3.9%, to more than 1.08 million tons, despite a 1.9% reduction in planted area.

source: Magrama: Avances Superficies y producciones de cultivos, April 2016

In the potato category, the very early crop is poised for a slight (1.6%) rise, to 105,700 tons, while the earlies crop slips 1%, to 415,300 tons, with similar variations in their relative planted areas.

As for onions, the babosa should rally 14.6% on last year, to 212,100 tons, according to the first estimates, and when it comes to mushrooms, the champignon (white button) crop is in line to come in 9% higher, at 132,700 tons, but the total for other mushrooms is tipped to decline by 3.5%, to 15,100 tons. The asparagus crop is forecast to grow by 8.6%, to 57,500 tons, and that of eggplant 5.3% to 259,700 tons.

source: Magrama