They requested the extension of the standard

Spain: Castilla-La Mancha planting melons

The regional government will recognize in a few days the inter-branch Melon and Watermelon organization from Castilla-La Mancha, which represents more than 60% of the producing and marketing sectors of these fruits, which are practically concentrated in the region of Ciudad Real in La Mancha, in a few days; a few days after they started planting melon in the province.

Christopher Jimenez, president of the organization that was established several years ago and was published in the Official Journal of Castilla-La Mancha (DOCLM) in March 2015, said they were in the final stages (which have been stopped because of the municipal elections and the constitution of the new government) to establish the representativeness.

Jimenez said the sector had many challenges but that they would start at the beginning: "The day after the order is published, we'll ask for an extension of the standard", i.e. the regulation that will make any agreement taken within the organization mandatory.

This procedure will allow them to develop actions to stimulate consumption (taking into account it has decreased from 1,050,000 tons to 736,000 tons) and identify genetic traits to create a variety of melon from La Mancha.

In fact, they have been working for months to preserve the product's quality. They have met with scientific groups that can fight the New Delhi virus , which affected some of the production in its last stage last season.

It will also make them eligible for support from the European Commission to carry out promotional activities in the internal market and in third countries.

"We are aware that these challenges will take several years," admitted Jimenez, who reiterated that their main goal was to produce "a premium quality product that does not overlap with any another."

12,000 hectares
Regarding the culture, Jimenez said that they have been planting the first hectares of melon and watermelon with a thermal blanket for the past twenty days. The bulk of the planting will be performed from mid-May to early June and there will be another planting between July and August.

In total, there will be about 12,000 hectares of melons and watermelons, and expectation are they will produce 300,000 tons; a volume that Jimenez considers is perfect for the market's demand as it would be difficult to market a higher volume.

Jimenez stressed that they were betting on a product that is profitable if they are united. The inter-branch organization brings together the Fruit and Vegetable Melon and Watermelon Market and it has the same interests as the IGP Melon de la Mancha.

The region of Ciudad Real in la Mancha accounts for 90% of the melon production from Castilla-La Mancha and 40% of the national total. "There must be a balance in marketing so that profits are higher than production costs," Jimenez stated.


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