The campaign "No cortes en verde" ("No green harvesting"), an initiative of Hortyfruta and the Government of Andalusia, has been launched again with the aim of promoting the sale of melons and watermelons at their optimum degree of maturation.
The inspections will continue until the end of the melon and watermelon campaign, which will be at the end of June or early July, depending on the crops' development.
In the past year, the Delegation of Agriculture of Almeria has carried out 145 controls on 30 companies, inspecting a total of 5,871 tons. Out of that volume, 20.1 tons of watermelons were rejected for different causes, including the presence of viruses or not reaching the minimum sugar content or the minimum quality standard.
3.4 tons were rejected due to the presence of viruses. This affected 0.37 percent of the watermelons and 0.61 percent of the melons, so 99.63 percent of the watermelons inspected and 99.39 percent of the melons perfectly met the strictest quality controls.
The delegate of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Aránzazu Martín, explained that this year's campaign is starting "sooner than ever, due to the good setting in the plants and the high temperatures. Consequently, the fruit's marketing has been advanced by practically a month."
The main objective is to "raise awareness among agricultural producers about the importance of watermelons and melons reaching the market with the degree of ripening and flavor that customers expect from them."
Watermelons and melons continue to be greatly important for horticulture in Almeria. The province is Spain's largest watermelon exporter and the second largest melon producer.
In the case of melons, the acreage has expanded by 8% this year after several campaigns with reductions. It has thus gone from 2,290 hectares in 2017-2018 to 2,473 hectares this campaign. As for the melon production, it exceeded 93,500 tons last season, while 99,800 tons are expected for this campaign.
Meanwhile, the watermelon acreage will expand by 3%, going from 9,806 hectares in the 2017-18 season to 10,100 hectares this year. This acreage is similar to those of peppers and tomatoes. Last season, the watermelon production exceeded 558,200 tons. This campaign, it could exceed 580,000.