The sweet fruit campaign in the Spanish region of Navarre has been “disastrous”, according to the Union of Agricultural Producers and Livestock Farmers of Navarre (UAGN). The problem has been the low profitability of the productions. For the agrarian organization, the priority objective is to avoid the fruit's price increase from the moment it's harvested until it reaches the consumer, which can amount to between 500 and 600% in most cases.
The president of UAGN, Félix Bariáin, said that with peaches and nectarines, the two fruits that have registered the worst prices this year, it has practically not been possible to cover the production costs. For each kilo of peaches or nectarines, producers have received between 20 and 28 cents per kilo, when that same kilo is sold in stores for between 1.40 and 1.60 Euro.
Bariáin reports that the percentage of losses suffered by sweet fruit producers in the last four years stands at around 28%. "These losses are a result of the constantly falling prices and the rising expenditure in wages, hydrocarbons, phytosanitary products and electric power," he says.
UAGN, as a partner of Asaja, will join the initiative of this organization in Aragon, Lleida and La Rioja, which has been organized to demand a fair price for sweet fruit by creating the Price Monitoring Office of the Ebro Valley. The entity will denounce any irregularities of the distribution sector. The office will receive technical and legal advice, although the union stresses that the objective is to create an interprofessional organization (a table where all parties can sit down and negotiate).
Reduction of the acreage
The head for fruits and vegetables at UAGN, Luis Miguel Serrano, said that in Navarre, fruit trees, especially peaches and apples, are being uprooted because of the low profitability and the difficulty in finding laborers. The producers of summer apples, with varieties such as the Royal Gala, are receiving about 30 cents, according to Serrano. "With these prices, nobody is going to plant fruit trees."