Miguel Ángel Gómez, president of Afruex:

"Spain: "Extremadura's stone fruit competitiveness could improve with better railway network"

The lack of a modern railway network in the region of Extremadura also has an impact on the export strategies for the region's stone fruit, which would be "much more competitive" in Europe if it could gain access to the EU countries in a "faster and more affordable way." This was stated by the manager of the Association of Fruit Growers of Extremadura (Afruex), Miguel Ángel Gómez, who explained that the lack of quality rail lines makes it necessary to use roads in order to reach the European continent, where prices "are increasingly higher," he pointed out.

This entails that, for example, when fruit production starts in areas such as Catalonia or Aragon, the region of Extremadura is "almost out of the European markets" because of the difference in costs and distances. Gómez insisted that if Extremadura had a good railway connection with Europe to reach the continent quickly and cheaply, the region would be much more competitive.

China and Canada
In recent years, this circumstance has motivated the sector to increase its exports to mostly outside Europe. The increase in sales to China and Canada are some examples of this boost in shipments to non-EU countries, although Miguel Ángel Gómez recalled that reaching new markets "is not easy." In this regard, he recalled that the Russian veto closed that country's borders to Extremadura's fruit.

Besides this, the manager of Afruex reported that this year's fruit campaign has been "very difficult" due to the weather conditions, as well as the market situation, although he also pointed out the final part of the plum season has yielded more positive results.

To this we must add the low prices recorded this year, which stand below those of the previous season and which are a problem for the growers, stated the manager of the Association of Fruit Growers of Extremadura.

Source: EFE

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