As reported by LA UNIÓ de Llauradors, the plum campaign in Valencia has been "a real disaster." Plum sales have so far been poor and prices at origin have sunk in recent weeks, falling by almost 80%.
Faced with this situation, LA UNIÓ has already requested an urgent meeting with the new Councilor of Agricultura, Mireia Mollà, to ask her to act soon by enforcing effective measures, such as the granting of direct aid to compensate for the losses.
The campaign kicked off in the first week of June with a price of € 0.60 / kg, which was already 10% below last season's figure. In just one month, in the first week of July, the price fell back to a range of between 0.15 and 0.38 Euro/kg, and this week, it already stands at 0.13 € / kg. In just six weeks, the price of plums has dropped by almost 80%; however, oddly enough, the price on supermarket shelves still amounts to around € 2.30 / kg.
The production costs, which oscillate between 0.30 and 0.35 € / kg, cannot be covered and some cooperatives will presumably liquidate with losses; that is, they will have to ask for money from their partners to cover the costs of manipulation and destruction of the fruit that cannot be marketed.
Producers revealed that there have been no sales operations in the last few weeks, and cold storage facilities are starting to fill up. In order to prevent a collapse, the harvest has ground to a halt and ripe fruit is already spoiling in the trees, boosting the risk of an increase in the population of the Mediterranean Fly.
LA UNIÓ has reported that Brazil, one of the world's biggest plum buyers, has stopped buying in Spain, citing phytosanitary reasons, but there is no confirmation in this regard.
The sector's crisis has caused the plum acreage in the Region of Valencia to be significantly reduced in the last few years. In fact, 5% of the trees were uprooted in 2018. Many other growers are considering abandoning the crop if the situation doesn't change.