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Spain: Citrus growers fear cheaper competition from the Mediterranean

Producers are concerned about the second part of the citrus campaign. The Citrus Management Committee warns that "it will be difficult to maintain the prices at origin demanded by the producers in the face of cheaper competition from other producing countries of the Mediterranean basin."

"The second part of the citrus campaign is raising some concerns among us for several reasons. We are starting with the Nadorcott, with which we'll continue until April, but we'll have to wait and see how the markets behave given the cheaper competition from Morocco, and also how it reacts to the greater supply of smaller calibres coming from all origins," argue sources of the Citrus Management Committee.

Regarding other varieties, there are similar fears. "As for the late Navels and Valencia-lates that we will have until next July, it will be difficult to keep prices up, as there will be much cheaper competition from Egypt and the whole Mediterranean basin, where the production costs are much lower," states the representative of the Citrus Management Committee.

The impact on citrus prices of this competition is unpredictable. "We will just have to wait and see the development of sales and consumption in the coming months," says the representative of the Citrus Management Committee.

By late January, the exports of oranges and clementines to new markets, such as Brazil, South America, South Korea, Arab countries, China and the rest of Asian countries, were, in general terms, "at the same level as in the previous year, but we will have to check how they behave at the end of the season," explains the Citrus Management Committee.

Although it remains to be seen what will happen in the second part of the citrus campaign, the balance of the first part has been positive, in the opinion of the Management Committee.

However, even though prices at origin for varieties such as the Clemenules have increased considerably, "it is still too early to know if these increases will compensate for the significant decline in the harvest volume," the same sources argue.

It is worth recalling that this variety's production volume in the Region of Valencia was 243,225 tonnes smaller, with a 29.3% fall recorded for all clementines as a whole. That is why the Citrus Management Committee has pointed out that the "strong increase in prices at origin has not translated into a proportional rise in the destination markets."

"We have to take into account that the Clemenules have had an increasingly shorter campaign. A few decades ago, the harvest lasted for 90 days, but now it lasts for no more than 60 days due to the increasingly shorter shelf life caused by climate change, the use of rootstocks tolerant to the Tristeza disease and new cultivation practices, such as localised irrigation and fertilization, fattening treatments, etc, This has made the marketing much more difficult, despite efforts to try making the variety more valuable and raise prices," explains the representative of the Citrus Management Committee.

"The supply of this extraordinary fruit concentrates within a very short time span, which has facilitated its treatment by distributors as a commodity product," the same sources add.

In spite of everything, the Citrus Management Committee estimates that at the end of last January, when the first part of the citrus campaign came to an end, the export figures were very close to those of last season, which then reached 2,032,157 tonnes, with 842,165 tonnes of clementines.


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