The president of the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA), Cristóbal Aguado, has described the current kaki campaign as "the worst campaign ever in our land," with prices falling occasionally as low as ten cents per kilo, making it impossible to cover the production costs. He said that this is a matter of "enormous concern."
Aguado criticized the "political incompetence" after the closing of the Russian market. "They told us they would open new markets in Peru, China or Japan, but that hasn't happened yet," he said. He also complained about the aid announced by the European Union having been given the first year and only to cooperatives; however, he also made some self-criticism by pointing out that what has happened this campaign "makes no sense." After mentioning that 87% of the European kaki production is Valencian or that 90% of the operators selling kakis in Spain are also Valencian, he lamented that the sector hasn't been able to create an interprofessional organization, "joining forces to analyze the campaign and try keeping prices at decent levels. We have been unable to do that and we all have our share of blame," he said.
According to the president of AVA, even with a production like this year's, initially estimated at 400,000 tons, if the sector became organized it could get a good price during the almost six months that the campaign can last, from September to February or March.
There are solutions for the excess supply
"If the problem is the excess supply, there is an easy fix," he said, pointing out that, similarly to what has already happened with grapes in La Rioja, France and some areas of Italy, the producers' organizations themselves may choose to discard a part of the fruit to avoid market saturation and guarantee profitable prices for the producers.
That way, he said, "we can make every year a good year. If we are selfish, we will all go down. We have to think more about the whole and less individually," said Aguado, who argued in favor of the union of both independent agricultural producers by towns and of the sector in an interprofessional.
The agrarian leader said that there are currently ten major chains in Europe that buy the product and end up imposing prices, and said that if the growers manage to stand strong together, "we will have a greater influence on the chain."