The current pome fruit campaign in Lleida, Spain, which started in August with the Royal Gala variety, has turned out to be more complex than previous seasons. From the very beginning it started off marked due to the hailstorms that took place in July, which affected more than 25,000 hectares, when the fruit was almost ready to be harvested. Most of this produce had to be used by the processing industry for the production of compotes.
"For this reason, companies like Copa Trading heavily invest every year in the installation of anti-hailstorm nets, which cost approximately 16,000 Euro per hectare," explains Adrià Serrano Moncasi, commercial manager of Copa Trading.
"This year's hailstorms will in part compensate for the great increase in production that had been expected. Additionally, the fruit offers smaller calibres this season; something that is certainly having an effect on prices, which tend to be higher for the larger calibres," states Adrià.
"After finishing off with the Royal Gala, the Golden and the Red Chief, the Fuji season is now about to come to a close and in two weeks we will continue with the Pink Kiss until mid-December."
Based in the town of Mollerusa, in the Spanish province of Lleida, Copa Trading S.A. was founded in 2002 with the merge of three fruit producing companies, which together achieve a production of 35,000 tonnes including stonefruit and pome fruit.
Under the COPA brand, the firm ships most of its production to Europe, Russia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
"Although Poland is currently Europe's largest apple producer, there are still markets where they cannot compete with us because they offer more outdated varieties and packaging formats. Italy and France, which have also been affected by hailstorms, are thus our main competitors in Europe."
Meanwhile, Spanish Golden apples are still very hard to promote in Europe because of their firmness and outer appearance, "despite the fact that their flavour is more intense, with higher levels of sweetness. It is the apple we produce the most and we will consequently continue promoting its qualities in order to convince European consumers."