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Spain: Huelva has great potential to produce late mandarins

The Association of Agricultural Nurseries (Avasa) has been collaborating for years with the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research (IVIA) with the goal of improving the quality of some citrus varieties in order to better meet the market demands.

Avasa president Francisco Llatser explains that Huelva has great potential for the production of citrus fruits and, more specifically, for late mandarins. That is why the association has been in Cartaya to introduce 8 new late mandarin varieties which have gone through a tough selection process.

The research programs carried out by the two entities, Avasa and IVIA, have focused on the genetic improvement of mandarins and in the quarantine station.

Llatser explains that these improvement programs have focused on mandarins because "the possibilities with oranges are very limited, since we have already reached such a high quality level that it is very difficult to overcome." The president of Avasa stressed that this quality is what has allowed the country to become the world's largest exporter of oranges, despite the fact that we rank sixth in terms of production volume. Another of our advantages as an orange producer is that "we are the only country in the world where there is such a wide range of high quality varieties."

The challenge now is to reach that same level with mandarins, "a field in which much remains to be done." In their view, there is some market saturation during the peak season; however, there is a large gap "at both ends," which means there are interesting possibilities for the producers.

About the quarantine station, Llatser says it is "vitally important," because that is where pest controls are carried out on the varieties entering our country from producing countries around the world. "It is important to monitor that these arrive without carrying any diseases."

However, there is always something to learn from other big producers, so one of Avasa's objectives is to become familiar with some of the production and research programs developed in Australia with very late Navel varieties and other similar ones in the US and South Africa.

Regarding lemons, the nurseries are mostly interested in the late varieties of seedless Fino lemons.

For its part, grapefruit is the least successful citrus fruit amongst Spanish researchers because Spain does not have the best conditions for its production. In this sense, it has a distinct disadvantage against the conditions in Florida or Israel.


Source: agrodiariohuelva.es

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