The windstorms that have hit the Costa Tropical in recent days, with gusts that have reached up to 90 kilometers per hour, has had negative consequences for producers in the region. Almost half of the avocado harvest that was almost ready to be picked has been lost, with a cost for the sector that could exceed one million Euro.
When the wind started to blow strongly on Thursday and the alert of the Aemet (State Meteorological Agency) rose to orange, agricultural producers started fearing the worst. They knew that the impact on their farms could be very negative, and that's how things turned out. Juan Camacho, spokesperson for COAG Tropical, said on Saturday that 50% of the avocado production is estimated to have fallen to the ground. In any case, he also said that it is still difficult to give an exact estimate, because there will be farms that have been more affected, while others will have escaped much of the damage, depending on the location and other factors.
In any case, Camacho said that the extent of the destruction has been "considerable." The growers were picking fruits from the ground on Saturday to see what could be saved. The head of COAG explained that once they fall, they can no longer be sold as first class products. There are then two options: either hitting the market as second class products, suitable for direct consumption, but sold at a lower price, or being used to make other products, such as guacamole. In those cases, the prices paid per kilo are even lower.
For some producers, the consequences have been worse than for others. There are some who have even asked marketers to distribute up to 30,000 kilos of avocados picked from the ground. For them, the losses will be huge.
The estimate is that around 500,000 kilos of avocados have fallen to the ground due to the wind. Taking into account that the price per kilo stood at around 2.4 Euro, the losses could exceed 1.2 million Euro.
Impact on cherimoyas
As for the cherimoya crops, there have been some damages, but not as great. Camacho said that around 20% of the harvest may have been lost. The reason why the wind has not hit this fruit as much as avocados is that the farms are usually in different areas, and in any case, cherimoyas are less vulnerable to the impact of the wind. All in all, growers will also record some losses as a result of the storm.
Although the estimate in the case of avocados is that losses amount to just over one million Euro, more accurate figures cannot be offered yet. Once all the fallen fruit has been picked, taken to the marketers and sorted depending on the damage caused by the storm, a much more accurate estimation of the total damage will be available.
In any case, and regardless of the fact that there are farms that have suffered more than others, the spokesperson for COAG's Tropical department made it clear that the current situation "has taken a toll on all producers" of the region and that the storm has been recorded at the worst possible time, because most were about to start harvesting the fruits now, or at least no later than early January, so the avocados that have been lost were already almost optimally ripe.