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Spain: Piel de sapo melon prices falling again

The market price of Piel de sapo melons remains unstable. While at the beginning of the season producers of Castile-La Mancha sold their melons at 40 percent of their cost and later reached figures above 0.60 Euro per kilo, now prices are again in a downward trend.

The Melon and Watermelon Interprofessional of Castile-La Mancha has accused large retailers of demanding fewer Piel de sapo melons in order to force a drop in prices; a move that has allegedly succeeded.

The president of the organization, Cristóbal Jiménez, admits that "once again, it has been shown how the sector largely depends on the decisions made by large retailers," adding that "they just do whatever they want."

Thus, the representative of the producers and marketers pointed out that "large retailers have almost no melons on their shelves, and when the fruit runs out, those shelves are not refilled until the next day."

As a result, the extra-class melon is on the market for prices oscillating between 0.28 and 0.40 Euro, which is 5 cents less than in the previous week, while the first class is sold for between 0.27 and 0.30 Euro, and the second class for between 0.16 and 0.20 Euro.

The president of the interprofessional has highlighted the willingness of both producers and marketers to reach an understanding with large retailers "in order to collaborate for the benefit of all" and comply with the Law of the Food Chain.

In the opinion of the interprofessional, if large retailers refuse to cooperate, growing melons in Castile-La Mancha will eventually no longer be a viable business, and as recalled by Jiménez, there is no other place in the world producing fresh melons between August and October. The fruit's production is carried out in the surroundings of the municipalities of Manzanares, Tomelloso and Villarta de San Juan.

The organization of producers and marketers stressed that the future of 2,000 producers and 550,000 wages is at stake, and that "not everything goes when it comes to getting consumers to fill their shopping baskets."

Cristóbal Jiménez insisted on the need to variegate the sector and guarantee some "marketing parameters that allow for reasonable prices for producers, marketers and large retailers, so that all remain within profit margins without making the fruit expensive for the consumer."

Watermelons still in dire situation due to little export
Meanwhile, the situation is still dire for watermelons, as has been the case practically all summer; to such an extent that, at present, the Lonja Hortofrutícola doesn't have a price for second class watermelons.

The interprofessional blames this on the small volumes of watermelons exported to European countries like France, the United Kingdom or Germany this summer as a result of the rains and low temperatures.

The domestic market has not been able to absorb the entire watermelon production, 40 percent of which relies on the foreign market. At present, the prices of first class seedless black watermelons and first class white watermelons oscillate between 0.10 and 0.13 Euro per kilo.

Also worth noting is that the melon and watermelon campaigns are both about to come to a close. In the case of melons, only 15 percent of the production remains in the field, so the Lonja Hortofrutícola will hold its last meeting in early October.


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