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Spain: Ribera d'Ebre expecting excellent cherry season
The cherry harvest of the Ribera d'Ebre will achieve record volumes. There isn't yet an exact forecast of the production volumes because of the impossibility of measuring the crops of the numerous small cherry producers in this region of Terres de l'Ebre. However, the territory is very optimistic about this year's cherry campaign, which is expected to be excellent both in its amount and in its quality.
When there is a good campaign, producers can export up to 40% of the global harvest. The cherries are sold to central Europe and the British Isles. The rains of the past week have not damaged the cherries and the weather, so far, has benefited the crop.
In fact, the good weather prevailing this spring, after a cold and foggy winter, have led to an excellent start of the campaign, which will last until early July. The cherries from L'Ebre had a very good start of the campaign. The harvest of the earliest varieties began a few weeks ago and producers are currently harvesting harder varieties that can be used to export, which has prevented the fall of the price per kilo. In other years, the rains softened the fruit so they couldn't be marketed abroad.
"There will be a lot of cherries and a great quality this year; the market really appreciates big cherries and has low prices for small cherries," stated Jaume Miquel Aleu, from the Peasants Union (UP) at Ribera de l'Ebre. "Price are good for large calibers, a farmer can charge 3 euro per kilo of cherry if the fruit is about 28 millimeters big – a price that can be easily doubled once the fruit is sold to the public," Aleu added. The peach harvest is also about to start.
The climatic conditions of the Ribera d'Ebre are perfect for peaches and cherries. According to data from the County Council, the region produces more than 20 million kilograms of fresh fruit per year. They produce peaches in 1,600 hectares, cherries in 500 hectares, pears in 230, and other fruits in 280 hectares. The surface of irrigated lands has increased in recent years and crops have changed according to the market's demand.
"There are more cherries and more hectares devoted to this sweet fruit, there are more than 1,000 acres that are constantly being renewed in the Ribera d'Ebre," stated Aleu. "We don't have official data on the volume produced because farmers don't produce cherries exclusively, it is a complementary culture in their lands where there are other fruit trees or olive trees," he added.
Publication date: 5/19/2017
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