Encourages trying guava
Spain: Expert advises caution before betting on mangoes or avocados in Huelva
The cultivation of tropical fruits and the management of agricultural plastics were the topics discussed at the closing session of the 29th Agricultural Technical Days of Rociana del Condado, which were held on 6 and 7 February at the Casa de la Cultura of the town in Huelva.
Antonio Carmona, who owns several tropical fruit plantations in the area of Isla Cristina, started his talk by asking Huelva County farmers who may be considering the possibility of betting on mangoes or avocados to be cautious. "In La Redondela, we have a microclimate that is not observed in this region, where the temperature, compared with that coastal area, can vary by between two and three degrees. It is an important difference, because these trees, especially mangoes, cannot withstand low temperatures well. Farmers shouldn't forget their history, which tells us that every seven or eight years there is a cold front that often causes much damage to our plantations," he said.
Carmona added that "of the many varieties that I have tried in my plot, the only one that works, because it is more resistant to cold, is the Sensación, which besides needing little water and being resistant to pests, yields an average of 25,000 tonnes per hectare, and the harvest period lasts from August to the end of November."
After denying that there is an indigenous mango variety in the province of Huelva adapted to the cold, Antonio Carmona said, however, that those who want to try this tropical fruit should choose a good pattern, and according to their experience as a farmer, the most resistant at low temperatures is the Gomera-3.
About avocados, which he named "the most fashionable tropical fruit in the world" (and proof of this is that there are no plants available in the nurseries), he said that in the province of Huelva "I have not seen a plantation performing well. At first, the tree develops perfectly, but the problem lies in the setting of the fruit, which is not optimal. Many producers eventually decide to remove them when they are between four and five years old."
In any case, in his farm he has verified that the best variety for Huelva is the Hass, because "it is a little bit more resistant to the cold than mangoes" and because this is also the one that the consumer demands the most.
Based on his experience, he recommended the farmers in the County to use the Mexican patterns for the new plantations, and more specifically those that come from the Topa-Topa family. He also stressed that it is advisable to introduce the Bacon avocado variety in between 8 and 10% of the plantation, because it pollinates the most. Regarding the harvesting period, he added that it can last from the end of November to March or April.
Antonio Carmona did encourage the producers to give guava a try. "It's an interesting crop and it could be perfectly suited to this area." Of course, he warned that selling this fruit is still difficult, because "consumers in our markets don't like it very much for now, despite it having many beneficial properties."
Publication date: 2/14/2018
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