The stone fruit season started in early June for Fruits de Ponent, although the volumes handled didn't become significant until the end of the month. The harvest in Lleida is apparently smaller than predicted, with a predominance of small calibres, and this is taking a toll on the development of the 2019 campaign.
"It all points to the harvest volumes being smaller than we expected. Less fruit is being marketed than we originally estimated. Moreover, the fruit hasn't grown properly and is smaller than usual," says Josep Presseguer, manager of the Lleida-based cooperative.
Although the predominance of smaller sizes tends to happen with the earliest varieties, this year we have also seen it with mid-season varieties, as well as late ones, to a lesser extent. "It is difficult to find adequate sizes based on the harvesting schedule, which has made it challenging to meet our commitments. This, together with the circumstances which have marked the end of Murcia's campaign, has led to us starting our season with nervousness."
From a marketing point of view, the representative of Fruits de Ponent says that, overall, there have been no problems with stock accumulation, and sales have gone smoothly, with higher and more reasonable prices for the larger fruit (calibres from 67 or 70). The cooperative continues to consolidate its presence in Europe and is gaining ground in Eastern countries.
The organic segment has its limits in terms of production and prices
Fruits de Ponent has been producing and selling organic stone fruit for a few campaigns. "It's a segment we've been really involved in. The truth is that we have been marketing about 50% of the volume we had expected to achieve. There is a niche market for organic fruit, but we cannot force it anymore, at least under the conditions in which the products have been sold so far, as the production and prices have their limits. However, we intend to continue consolidating our organic production and to keep growing little by little," says Josep Presseguer.