The Spanish citrus sector needs structural changes

The 1st Agricultural Convention, which was attended by more than 150 people, including producers, representatives of cooperatives, university students and members of the administration, served as a meeting point to discuss the Spanish orange crisis. The sector concluded that the threat posed by imported South African oranges (a great antagonist of Valencian agriculture in recent months) is only one point in a long list of reasons for the citrus crisis, and that the sector needs to reinvent itself.

This was stated by Paco Borràs, former commercial director of the Anecoop cooperative. He said that within the framework of a harvest campaign with record figures (with a 17% increase, according to Borràs), there has been an increase in the production of first season varieties, and a delay in the ripening of citrus fruits. All this caused the product to hit the market in an untimely manner and with a "mediocre" quality, and to top it off, the supply had increased.

To this we must add other collateral factors, such as the strikes of the "French yellow vests", which have also had an impact on the Valencian production intended for the European markets, "causing it to arrive between 10 and 15 days late." In fact, the export of Spanish citrus fruits has fallen by up to 25% in some cases. Moreover, in the domestic market, the industry, which accounts for 25% of the citrus volume marketed, has paid the lowest prices in ten years.

According to Borràs, the main objective is to pursue the concentration of fields in large farms, as is already happening in other Spanish productive areas. He said that as the size of the fields expands, the productivity also increases. He also pointed to other problems, such as the poor implementation of technology, the lack of concentration of the supply or the poor use of the facilities.


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