Fruit crops in the Spanish region of Aragon, mainly plums, apples, apricots and pears, have been devastated by the high temperatures recorded in eastern Aragon in recent days.
In the area of Caspe, more than half of the Reina plum production has burned just a week after the harvest started, so up to one million kilos are estimated to have been lost. Farther north, in Fraga, the main crops affected have been pears, apples and apricots. The heat has even made it necessary for the schedule of seasonal workers to be changed, getting them to work several hours earlier in order to avoid the higher temperatures of the afternoon.
The secretary general of Asaja Aragón, Ángel Samper, is asking for more protection from the central government in these extreme cases, as well as the regulation of sales without fixed prices.
Lack of labor
Not only the heat is taking a toll on Aragon's fruit production. The rising production costs or the constant shortage of labor have caused thousands of kilos of cherries or apricots to be left unharvested in regions such as the Bajo Cinca. The cold spring recorded this year in Aragon or the high temperatures of recent days have also altered the fruit's ripening process, dooming it to rot at the foot of the trees or in the warehouses.
This year, there has been a greater need for labor, given the peaks in the production or the overlap between the harvesting campaigns of several fruits; however, the improvement of the situation in the construction sector or the slaughterhouse industry is causing temporary workers to abandon the fields, reports Óscar Moret, one of the heads of the fruit sector at UAGA.