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La Unió, Region of Valencia

Spain: Disastrous Navelina orange campaign

La Unió de Llauradors (Growers' Association) has shown its concern about the disastrous Navelina orange campaign currently underway, as approximately 30% of the production will not be harvested due to low prices and small calibres.

The relevance of this variety for Valencia's citrus sector is unquestionable, as it represents 44% of the orange production and 23% of the entire citrus sector.

According to La Unió, the main problem is the lack of demand for Spanish oranges. Our production and that of the Southern Hemisphere have overlapped this year in the markets. Both campaigns were delayed as a result of unusual weather conditions, which led to some operators attempting to compete against good quality imported fruit with oranges that were still not ready. The result has been the collapse of the Navelina orange market and concerns about how this will affect the later varieties.

The only option left for many growers is to sell their fruit to juice producers at ridiculous prices (0.07 Euro per kilo if shipped; 0.025 Euro per kilo if picked up at the plantations). The production cost of Navelina oranges, according to data provided by Valencia's Institute of Agricultural Research (IVIA), is of around 0.22 Euro per kilo.

This entails dire consequences for producers, as not only will their revenue be much lower, but there will also be less work available at the warehouses and for harvesting duties. It will also result in security problems, as fields that are not harvested are attractive for thieves.

In areas such as La Ribera, in the province of Valencia, where 28% of the Navelina orange production takes place, the situation can be devastating for growers, who will face severe losses and be unable to reinvest in their plantations to become more competitive; and for cooperatives, who are already oversized with their fixed costs.


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