Kakis, which had been considered a profitable alternative to oranges in the Valencian county of La Safor, have proved to be a failure. Producers are currently uprooting their trees, given the lack of options to sell the fruit and the losses generated in recent years. Avocados are the current alternative to keep the fields active, but the conversion process requires a high investment.
According to Vicent Faro, head of the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA), kakis "have not had the expected commercial success. The main markets for this fruit have been the domestic one and Russia, but for some years, the vetoes enforced by the Eurasian country have led to the fruit not being distributed in Russia, causing huge losses," he said.
Because of all this, many producers have been uprooting their kaki plantations, but they are also doing that with citrus fruits. "Many are tired of watering the trees or keeping watch on the plots. Everything costs a lot of money." In the case of oranges, fruit theft is a growing problem and producers are tired of "investing money for nothing."
In this context, producers are choosing to grow avocados in La Safor. "The region has adequate locations for this crop. South-facing areas in the mountain skirts, protected from the air," said Faro.
However, Faro warns of the cost of changing the cultivation system. The leader of AVA said that for an avocado plot to be profitable, a lot of money is needed. You need at least half a hectare. In this arable land, tasks with a cost exceeding 13,000 Euro must be undertaken. There are several steps to follow and all require a significant investment.
"It is necessary to prepare the land for a new crop, which costs more than 2,000 Euro; then acquire the plants, about 3,000; planting the new trees, plus wages, another 3,000; lastly, fencing the plot to prevent theft, another 5,000 Euro. All this for half a hectare of crops," said Faro.