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Production volumes could triple if dam water was used

Spain: Granada growing over 80,000 tonnes of tropical fruit

The climate in the Coast of Granada-Malaga is perfectly suitable for the production of tropical crops such as cherimoyas, avocados, medlars and mangoes, among others.

The Tropical Coast produces about 50 million kilos of cherimoyas per year, 99% of the European production; 20 million kilos of avocados (30%), about 6 million kilos of medlars and 2 million kilos of mangoes (8%); the latter is currently experiencing great growth.

Although figures vary depending on the time of the year, possibly around 10,000 people in the Coast of Granada and Valle del Río Verde make a living from the production of tropical fruits, which generates 4,000 direct and over 6,000 indirect jobs.

According to the president of the Regulatory Board of the Designation of Origin for Cherimoyas, Antonio Sánchez, tropical fruits have not been hit as hard by the crisis, as it is a professional sector marked by stability. "Despite what some have said, in Almuñécar the cherimoya acreage has not been reduced; on the contrary, it has expanded in recent years with new plantings. We are also seeing an expansion of avocados and mangoes, although not to the extent it would have been possible, had we been able to make use of water from Béznar or Rules. It is unfortunate to have two dams with such characteristics and which growers don't have access to water for irrigation without having to pay really high prices to bring it to their crops."

Everyone agrees that if the dams were supplying water to Granada's Tropical Coast, its current production volumes could triple.

"In Almuñécar and Río Verde, the energy for water transport can cost 50 to 60 cents per cubic metre; however, in Salobreña and Motril the cost drops to just 3-5 cents and in the coast of Malaga to 3 cents. Tropical fruits require plenty of water, hence the high cost for us."

"For us, as growers, tropical fruits are much more comfortable and productive crops. They are also profitable if the right parameters are followed. Many young people know this and have become small entrepreneurs with a good future after having worked in professional sectors whose profitability has plummeted," explains Sánchez.

At present, the Tropical Coast exports around 15% of its production, but figures show that demand is growing, as the number of domestic and international markets where these fruits are sold is on the rise.


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