The prospects are good for the second part of the citrus campaign, which will start with the New Year. Unlike in the first part, growers expect oranges to be sold for reasonable prices. However, the damage caused to the sector in these months is so high that the improvement won't make up for it. This is one of the conclusions expressed by the Unió de Llauradors in its recent balance of the citrus year.
Thus, in January, February and March, the market should be more favorable for Castellon's products. The fact that "there is no competition from third countries" during this period will also help, as explained by secretary general Carles Peris.
This will be the time when later varieties come into play. However, the fact that the Clemenules, which is marketed in the first part of the campaign, accounts for 80% of the total production in the province makes it impossible to make up for the losses.
Peris says that "in these months, the price has dropped by up to 23%, which has caused losses totaling 34 million Euro in Castellon alone." The price per kilo oscillates "between 12 and 18 cents, at most 20," which is an unsustainable level for producers.
La Unió believes that two measures should be urgently enforced to allow Castellon to compete under the same conditions as other producing countries, with an eye especially on South Africa.
One is that all the goods should be subject to the same phytosanitary controls. The other has to do with the cold treatments used to preserve the fruit. In the province, the temperature is set to one degree Celsius, while in other countries it is set to four or five degrees. "That entails higher expenses, which makes us unable to compete in equal conditions," said the spokesperson of La Unió.