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Spain: Mango campaign to close with 22,000 tonnes

The high temperatures recorded in the early autumn have had a very negative impact on many Andalusian crops, but nevertheless, they have been very beneficial for the mango campaign which is about to come to a close (it will finish in early November) and have allowed growers to exceed the 20,000 tonnes produced last year.

After a couple of years of ups and downs in production, this campaign the volume has reached 22,000 tonnes and the fruit's quality is particularly noteworthy.

Regarding the price, growers have received an average of 1.40 Euro per kilo, so the economic impact of the campaign in Andalusian agriculture will range between 20 and 30 million Euro.

The Tropical Coast of Granada and, above all, La Axarquía of Malaga, are the main producers of this tropical fruit.

Malaga started to grow mangoes in the late 80's and La Axarquía currently has around 3,400 hectares devoted to the crop. This is still far from the 40,000 devoted to avocados; however, the growth rate in recent years has been really good.

According to the president of the Spanish Association of Tropical Producers, José Linares, estimates point to Andalusia's mango production multiplying by four in the next four years. "We are going to exceed 60,000 tonnes per season," says the expert.

The Andalusian mango harvest campaign is short and the Osteen variety predominates, although in recent years there have also been small volumes of other varieties, such as the Keitt, Palmer, Kent and Tommy Atkins.

Between 70 and 75% of the mangoes produced in Andalusia are exported to foreign markets and the fruit is highly appreciated in Europe. In spite of that, Andalusian mangoes are also gaining ground in the domestic market and food distribution giants like Mercadona have bet on it once again this campaign.

All Mercadona supermarkets in Spain sell the mangoes grown in the municipalities of Vélez-Málaga, Motril and Salobreña. Last season, the retailer bought a million kilos of mangoes from Andalusian producers and this year forecasts indicate that this figure will be exceeded.

Just like many other crops, Andalusian mango is threatened by the impact of drought and its producers have already asked the Government of Andalusia and the central Government for the enforcement of measures to guarantee access to irrigation.

"The drought has not affected us this year, but if we don't have any rains next year, we will be in trouble. That is what we have said to the authorities, and hopefully they will help us and give us water from other areas," says the expert.

Theft in the fields
The high market value of mangoes makes them highly desirable for thieves; consequently, thefts have become one of the main problems that producers have to deal with. At the beginning of the season, the Association of Young Farmers (Asaja) asked the security forces for reinforcements in the surveillance, since they claim that thefts in the field are causing important economic losses for the producers.

For their part, sources From the Spanish Tropical Association have downplayed this issue. The president assures that the theft statistics are not "worrisome" and that they are comparable to those of other crops in the area.


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