The start of the fruit campaign in Lleida has been marked by an increase in production costs, which has been directly linked to the 30% rise in the minimum wage and the higher energy and fertilizer prices. Sources from the Unió de Pagesos (UP), a majority union in Catalonia, say that the production of a kilo of fruit has gone from costing 0.35 to 0.40 Euro per kilo last year to 0.40 to 0.50 Euro per kilo this year.
Promotion and labor
The UP has thus called on the Administration to offer solutions, as the demand for labor has increased by 32% this season. Also, given the forecast of a greater harvest volume, Comas has asked the regional Government to intensify its promotional and consumption campaigns for the benefit of the sector and the market.
Reduced productive area
For the first time in the last decade, the acreage devoted to peach and nectarine cultivation has decreased. In Catalonia, there are 21,395 hectares; 1,200 less than last year. Despite this decline, the manager of the employers of the Catalan fruit union Afrucat, Manel Simon, has said that "the peach and nectarine harvest volume is expected to exceed 520,000 tons." In the case of Lleida, production will fall by 6%.
The Russian veto has been taking a toll on fruit producers over the last four seasons. To address this problem, the Department of Agriculture has implemented a plan to uproot fruit plantations, with which it wants to withdraw more than 2,000 hectares of peaches, nectarines, flat peaches and platerinas from the market. This area is equivalent to the 8,000 tons of stone fruit that were exported every year to Russia from Catalonia.