According to data from the Council of Agriculture, in the province of Castellon, the area devoted to citrus cultivation has been reduced by 20% in the last 20 years. In 1998, there were 43,479 hectares, compared to the 35,062 hectares registered in 2018.
The general secretary of the Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders, Carles Peris, lamented that orchards continue to be abandoned due to the impossibility of making a profit from the harvests, stressing that the key factor to reverse this situation is the payment of fair prices to the producers. The ups and downs of the distribution chain and the unfair competition from countries like South Africa are also two factors that need to be addressed.
Moreover, there is a problem with the predominance of smallholding in citrus farming. Efforts should be made in the regrouping of farms to facilitate the sector's professionalization and the reduction of costs. In this regard, the Council plans for 15,000 hectares in Castellon to be brought together within ten years. This reordering can be done through cooperatives and private owners and there are plans for the launch of a line of aid.
After a "disastrous" campaign in which the sector has raised its voice over the situation, with producers taking the streets to ask for support, the prospects for this citrus campaign are promising. The reason for this is that the production is expected to fall by up to 30%. "Although it is still early to say, it appears that prices will be higher," said Peris. The season will start in the middle of this month with the earliest varieties, such as the Clemenrubi and the Orogros; then it will be the turn of the Marisol and, later, of the queen of the clementines: the Clemenules, which has been recording a minimum price of 0.21 Euro per kilo and a maximum of 0.41 Euro, with transactions at origin set at 0.30 Euro.