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Partial alternative to citrus

Spain: "Avocados cannot be grown in all parts of the Region of Valencia"

Agricultural producers need hope in order to stay on their feet, but the specialists are cautious. All new crops face obstacles that must be studied beforehand so growers do not continue "throwing money away." This was said by Celestino Recatalá, president of the new Association of Avocado Producers (Asoproa), which has been founded in the Region of Valencia in order to manage the expansion of this subtropical crop, which is becoming quite successful in the counties of La Ribera. In fact, the latest map published by the Council of Agriculture estimates the acreage devoted to this crop in La Ribera at 37 hectares, when around twenty years ago there was hardly a field in Alginet.

However, the Association is clear in one point: if the microclimate is not adequate, the chance of failure is very high. "We don't want to give growers false hopes and they should know that avocados, due to their characteristics, cannot be cultivated in all parts of the Region of Valencia. In the location of the fields, the temperatures at any time of the year below cannot fall below zero degrees Celsius or rise above 30. It is not easy to plant avocados and the growers must be aware of that before throwing their money away," says Recatalá.

For all these reasons, the president of Asoproa is asking the producers to seek advice and even carry out a detailed study of both the climatic conditions and the quality of the water before making any type of investment. Of course, the leader of the entity already announced that as far as water availability is concerned, "the area is perfect."

Tomás Faulí, who is an expert in the crop, argued a few weeks ago that avocados "have a great future," but also stressed that the crop is only a "partial alternative" to oranges, since it cannot be planted in any place. In fact, "It is a highly demanding and very sensitive plant. It needs to be treated very well and grown in the right places with the ideal conditions or it won't survive," said agronomist Francisco Pascual, director of avocado farms in Andalusia. Murcia and the Region of Valencia. He said that in the previous campaign, the fruit reached a record price of 3.30 Euro per kilo at origin, but warned that "traders believe that it will be difficult for this to happen again, because a lot of avocados have been planted all over the world. The Spanish avocado had an advantage in terms of quality when compared to the South American ones, which Finnish, British or German consumers were willing to pay for, although this advantage is being reduced and competition is becoming tougher."

The demand in the European market is increasing by between 25 and 30% annually, but it is very likely that in the coming years, with the entry into production of the farms that were planted three years ago, the supply will also grow considerably.


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