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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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Afrucat: Spain must reduce peach and nectarine acreage by 15%

STONE extremadura sol de badajoz

Catalonia’s business association has drawn up a plan together with Stone fruit prodcuers to reduce Spain’s growing area for these fruits by 15%. This is the conclusion drawn from a study using data from the past campaigns, which calculated the current area of ​​peach and nectarine cultivation at 80,000 hectares, of which 23,000 hectares are located in Catalonia.
In a statement, the organisation stated that the plan would involve providing aid of about €4,500 per hectare, with producers making the commitment not to plant any stone fruit varieties again.
According to calculations, implementing the plan would cost Spain about 55 million euros, which would be less than what Catalan producers lost in the last stone fruit season.