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Satsuma acreage has been gradually reduced in recent years
Start of Spanish citrus campaign with more expensive Satsuma mandarins
The citrus season is starting in the Region of Valencia with the harvest of the first mandarins of the Satsuma variety this week, mainly in the province of Valencia. Volumes are still scarce because only a few producers have started harvesting. It will be from week 37 and 38 when the great majority of producers and exporters supplying this type of mandarins will begin with their campaigns with full product availability.
Due to the negative influence of the June and July heatwaves, yields are lower than last year for Satsuma mandarins, as are for many other varieties of mandarin, clementine and orange in the overall estimate for the 2017-2018 season.
At the moment, the markets are already reacting and, according to the Valencia Citrus Market, prices are higher than in the same period last season. Specifically, Okitsu mandarins are 17% more expensive than in the first week of September 2016; Owari mandarin prices are 10% higher, and the Iwasaki cost about the same.
Acreage gradually reduced
In recent years, many companies have been switching from Satsuma mandarins to other, earlier varieties with more colour, or to alternative crops, such as kakis. The growing range and supply of mandarins from the southern hemisphere, from countries such as Argentina, South Africa, Peru or Chile, is increasingly taking a toll on the demand, with the consequent reduction in market shares.
Moreover, the handling in both the field and the warehouse is "much more complicated than with other varieties, like the Clemenules," explains David López, of Cítricos Asunción Lopez, a Valencian company specialised in this type of mandarins.
"The skin of the Satsumas, as in the case of the Clemenvilla, is excessively delicate and very prone to staining. These mandarins need a type of soil and microclimate with very specific temperatures and humidity conditions. It is very important to know the optimal moment for the harvest and later carry out a very specific degreening process and an extremely delicate handling in sorting and packaging lines," explains the expert.
"We are going to start with the first Okitsu from the last week of September." There are now fewer markets that demand this type of mandarin, and Germany has, for example, reduced imports of Satsuma mandarins. The main destinations are the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom."
More information about Cítricos Asunción López:
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