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The melon campaign is facing lower prices and a fall in consumption

The melon campaign maintained last year’s melon production figures in the main producing areas, but faces lower prices under the current economic crisis and pressure from its major distribution.

The communities of Castilla-La Mancha, Andalusia and Murcia provide more than seventy percent of the total volume of melon.

In the last season, according to official figures, approximately 13,000 hectares were grown in Castilla-La Mancha with a total yield of 374,000 tons, an amount that is expected to be maintained.

However, cooperative ventures in farming and marketing in the melons "Mancha region", area of excellence for production of the melon “piel de sapo”, have expressed concerns about the effects of the economic crisis.

In this sense, they have warned of a drop in consumption, and more specifically a drop in buying habits of fruit and vegetables.

They added that some operators who usually buy the product in the area are going through a critical economic situation and that, given the lack of liquidity; they will decrease their purchases or attempt to establish "payment conditions which will be impossible for sellers to accept."

In the region of Murcia, which will soon launch the campaign, the exports of this fruit were increased last year to almost 150,900 tons, representing 43 percent of the national total, according to Proexport.

For the campaign, according to the organization, a decrease is expected in the area dedicated to melons (which lie within the 5,700 hectares) because, among other reasons, the pressure exerted on the distribution by its providers, in trying to maintain their profit margins at a time when production costs have risen.

Andalusia provides 23 percent of production in Spain, which makes it the second largest source in Spain of after Castilla-La Mancha, and production stood last year at 300,703 tons, of which 186,621 tons, Almería provided.

With regard to exports, according to data provided by Interprofessional Andalusia Hortyfruta, the principal markets for the Andaluz melons were France, Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom, which account for 78 percent of total exports of this fruit.

In the province of Almería, the third largest of the country in production, industry sources have explained that prices are "very low" and that since the middle of last month, prices have reached estimates of up to twenty cents a kilo.

They added that they have cut different varieties, including "Cantaloupe" and "Galia" because, among other reasons, the very strong competition from countries like Morocco, and that this can even lead to the disappearance of the whole province.

Con información EFEAGRO 

Publication date: 6/9/2009


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