After a decade-long hiatus, the Spanish Citrus Interprofessional, Intercitrus, was reactivated last year in the middle of a citrus growing crisis. The idea was for it to defend the sector's interests in a campaign that has started with the hope of a recovery of prices at origin. María Morales, president since 1998 of the Agricultural Transformation Society (SAT) Citrus Nostrum, which has some 1,200 hectares of citrus crops, and a member of the provincial board of Asaja Sevilla, has been appointed vice president of the interprofessional organization.
“Intercitrus brings growers, cooperatives, industries, marketers and exporters together; therefore, it must promote initiatives that facilitate market transparency and the union of the different operators, backing Research and Development programs so that the citrus industry can continue moving forward. It must also approach the consumer, showing concern about their food safety. In short, the advantages of consuming citrus from Spain must be highlighted,” said Morales regarding the organization.
According to the Vice President of Intercitrus, the farms must be managed in a professional manner in order to obtain fruit of a quality that meets the market's tastes, betting if necessary on varietal reconversion. Also, the strategic alliances between producers and operators are of great importance for the sector.
The Interprofessional has set the objective of promoting domestic fruit both in the domestic market and in non-EU markets, such as China and Canada.
As regards the current citrus campaign, there is a noteworthy reduction of the harvest. "The production shortages are much more remarkable in the case of clementines than in that of oranges or grapefruits, but in general, the demand is much stronger than the supply and prices are rising weekly.”
“For the sector, neither last year's shortages, nor what is happening this year are good. Speculative campaigns, with peaks and troughs, take a toll on the sector's balance and on the sustainability of farms. The markets are very elastic, but if we stretch them too much, they can end up breaking.”