Catalonia's peach and nectarine production is expected to decrease by 18.6% amounting to 413,050 tons in the next season, according to data made public by Afrucat, Catalonia's Fruit Business Association, and the Generalitat's Department of Agriculture. The production of round peach will decrease by 22% (95,490 t), flat peach will decrease by 15% (113,630 t), nectarine will decrease by 20% (181,500), and the pavia by 9% (22,430 t).
The harvest season depends on the municipalities: it is expected to start 5-7 days earlier than last year, although there are areas that are expected to start up to 7-10 days late.
The campaign that will start shortly will have all the limitations caused by COVID-19 (difficulty in finding labor, need to implement protocols, massive use of PPE, increase in logistics and transport prices), which will translate into an increase in production costs that will be added to the newly agreed 6% increase in plant workers' wages.
However, according to Manel Simon, the general director of Afrucat, the significant decrease in the Catalan harvest forecasts and the general decrease expected in Europe could allow the Catalan productive sector to defend prices this year, especially when taking into account the good start of the stone fruit campaign in the south.
Simon said that the prices of the earliest fruit normally start high and should have fallen in the last few weeks but this year prices remain good. "Everything suggests that there can be a dispute over peaches and nectarines in the markets. There won't be enough product for everyone."
Another of the key elements of the campaign is the quality of the fruit, which is expected to be of good caliber and with high Brix degrees.
Carmel Modol, the general director of Food, Quality, and Food Industries of DARP, said that this could be a good moment for the sector because some markets had become very receptive to local products, and the population had become highly sensitized about fruit and vegetable consumption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sisco Palau, the president of the Stone Fruit Committee of Afrucat, stated: "We expect this will be a perfect campaign. We'll have excellent fruit quality, a low production throughout Europe, and consumers are interested in eating fruits and vegetables. I'm not sure what else we could ask for... So if we don't take advantage of this campaign, perhaps we have a different problem."
You can access the full report of the "Peach and nectarine harvest forecast for Catalonia 2020" at the following enlace.