Asaja in Spain thinks that the coming citrus campaign will suffer from a 20% drop in production. The La Vega region concluded its campaign this year with a production of 200,000 tons.
Nicolás González, chairman of Frutas y Hortalizas de Asaja-Córdoba blames a series of natural disasters, like floods, frost, high temperatures and drought. Expected rain will likely solve these problems. González states however, that an additional 80 litres of water is needed to bring the remainder of the season back on track.
The chairman advises not to market any more oranges until they are completely ripe. The last thing he wants is to “pollute” the market with fruits that have been artificially coloured.
González also expressed his concerns over European pressure to lower retail prices. He stated that citrus fruits have to fetch at least 20 cents per kilo to cover expenses. Growers cannot deal with another season in which revenues hover between 8 and 11 cents per kilo. The chairman went on to say that growers ought to be paid right away, not six months later, as is sometimes the practice.
Another problem, says González, is the increased competition from Third World countries. “We cannot compete with countries that pay wages that are ten times lower, and that don’t have to adhere to EU regulations.”