The melon and watermelon campaign in Castile-La Mancha has already started with the first plantings under thermal blankets. This year, the acreage in the autonomous region is expected to be reduced by 20% compared to the previous campaign, as reported by the president of the Interprofessional Organization for Melon and Watermelon of Castile-La Mancha, Cristóbal Jiménez.
The region's cultivated area is being reduced by about 1,200 hectares in the case of melons, compared to last year's 6,182 hectares, and by about 500 hectares in the case of watermelons, compared to 2,635 hectares in the previous season. The province of Ciudad Real accounts for 80% of the regional melon production, with about 4,900 hectares, and 90% of the watermelon one, with volumes estimated at about 224,000 and 216,000 tons, respectively, according to data from the interprofessional.
According to Jiménez, this reduction could be due to several factors. One of them is the caution on the part of producers when planting in order to avoid excesses in the supply, as these could later cause significant price drops. Another reason could be a possible drop in consumption due to the limited arrival of foreign tourists due to the pandemic. The president of the interprofessional also mentions the lack of workers for the harvest as another reason for this reduction in the acreage.
Jiménez recalls that these data are just estimates and that the actual figures won't be known until the closure of the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC), and that this has been delayed until June 15.
As for the prices, he points out that it is still too early to talk about them, since these, he argues, "purely depend on the supply and demand."