The drop in this year's citrus production in the Valencian county of La Safor (up to 50% down in some cases, compared to the previous year), and the increase in the fruit's consumption in Europe, motivated by the coronavirus outbreak, have resulted in the region having the best citrus campaign in recent years.
The oranges produced in the county have been sold in their entirety at prices as high as a decade ago, with oranges worth six Euro per arroba. "Last year, the price stood at just 0.60 Euro per arroba," said Vicent Faro, representative of the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-Asaja).
The outlook for producers in La Safor is new. "During this crisis, we have recovered part of the European market, which is logical, given that we have the local product that is demanded in central and northern Europe." Faro hopes that this trend change will be maintained. "Europe has its own production and that's the one that should be consumed. The six major food distributors in Europe have to understand this. The importance of our production and the quality of La Safor's fruit have become clear during this crisis."
To all this we must add the rains of these weeks in lockdown. "We are talking about light rains that are having a very positive impact on the fields," said Faro. "If everything continues like this, and spring days follow the rains, there will be a good flowering." This will translate into more oranges for the next season and ahead of the new harvesting campaign, which will start in just a few months, in September. "If all this happens, we will have more fruit after the summer and it will be channeled into the European market," he said.
At this time, the harvest of the remaining varieties is being finalized. "In La Safor, the late Navels and the Valencias are still to be harvested. The season will be over in about three weeks," said Faro.