Between August and September, the harvest of the different varieties of apples begins in Catalonia. According to the data presented by Afrucat about the campaign that has just started, producers expect to harvest 299,690 tons of apples, which is 11% more than in the previous season. 70% of that will be harvested in Lleida and another 11% in Girona. The apples from these two places account for approximately 30% of Catalonia's sweet fruit production. They are second only to peaches and nectarines, which account for almost 50%. Of the total volume of apples harvested, half correspond to the Golden variety or a similar one.
PGI Manzana de Girona
Catalan apples have had a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) seal since 2003, that of Manzana de Girona. This growing area extends from the Baix y Alt Empordà to the Gironès, where the three cooperatives that distribute the fruit operate: Girona Fruits, Costa Brava and Frutícola Empordà. They bring together eighty producers and partners, who supply the market with Golden, Gala, Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. Many of them have a long history that goes back to the 1960's.
Catalan apples in the Spanish market
About 50% of the Spanish apple and pear production comes from Catalonia, where some 300,000 tons are produced. The second most important region is Aragon, with approximately 100,000 tons, while Galicia ranks third with just under 60,000 tons, according to the most recent data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
The stagnation of the production in recent years has been aggravated by the drop in apple consumption. A study by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries estimates the decline in the purchase of apples between 2013 and 2017 at 10%. This is partly due to changing consumption habits, with less fresh food being consumed, but also because of the laziness to peel them, or because of the price increase in the fresh market in 2014.
The impact of this trend has been felt in the commercial flow. The most recent data from the Spanish Federation of Associations of Fruit and Vegetable Exporters and Producers (Fepex) reveal that between January and August 2018 there has been a 2% increase in the export of Spanish apples, with 67,856 tons more worth an estimated 55.2 million Euro (+30%), and a 20% reduction of imports, with 105,739 tons less compared to the same period of the previous year.
It is worth noting that since 2014, the European Union has seen a decline in both the export volume and price of apples due to the Russian veto. This also explains why the consumer has seen an increase in the volume of local fruit available in the domestic market.