Club varieties, a solution to the Spanish citrus crisis?

In a difficult context for citrus growing, marked by the price crisis and external competition, protected varieties or those subject to royalties, both newly created and already consolidated, have once again aroused interest among professional producers.

An example of this is the appearance of Spring Sunshine clementines, owned by the same company as the Orri, which is considered to be the latest on the market as it is harvested in Spain between April and May. According to the owning company, The Enforcement Organization (TEO), in one year in Castellón there are already around 125 hectares planted and the forecast is that there will be licences for sale until the end of the year, when the creation of a producers' committee is foreseen "for their defence and control".

Leanri is another of the names that sound loudly among those looking for a profitable alternative crop. The Protected Plant Varieties Club (CVVP), which manages it together with another of the star mandarins among those subject to royalties (Nadorcott), points out that it was presented in the last edition of Fruit Logistica with a great response from farmers and businesses, including those from Castellón.

Resale of licences
Along with the novelties, sources in the sector also show that there is an active market for buying and selling licenses of the three most consolidated varieties, which have given better prices in recent years (Orri, Tango and Nadorcott), since the committees that manage them do not sell more trees to avoid a fall in prices. On digital platforms and on the websites of agricultural organisations you can find advertisements for the acquisition of plots or rights to these protected varieties located both in Castellón and Valencia.

The companies that manage these three clementines (TEO, CVVP and Eurosemillas in the case of Tango) are confident that the prices of their varieties will rise in the season that will start in just a month and a half and return to a range between 0.80 cents and the euro. In the previous season they were sold at 0.55 euros/kg, which is not enough to make the high initial investment required for a farm of these varieties profitable and one of the reasons why there are farmers who choose to sell their rights.

The manager of the Orri Running Committee, Guillermo Soler, explained that citrus growers' interest in protected varieties is also explained by the need to "gain competitiveness", and assured that the "best way to do this" is to "differentiate" through premium mandarins. "The citrus market is going through a period of upheaval, largely due to the irruption of growing crops from third countries with lower costs, so differentiation is key to maintaining profitability", he affirmed.



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