José Oliveira, President of AlgarOrange, has stated that it’s one of the sectors that has “suffered the least from the pandemic”. AlgarOrange is Algarve’s Citrus Operators Association, which brings together several companies and associations of citrus growers from around the region. He also confirmed that their summer oranges are being sold at “double” the price, compared to last year.
Oliveira attributes the price increase to the high demand for oranges outstripping the lack of supply, which drove prices up. This year, he said they are getting around 70 cents per kilo for their oranges, compared to just 30/35 cents per kilo, last year. He believes they will have no difficulty in selling the entire production of this year’s orange produce, maintaining the higher price until the produce finishes, which exceeds 100,000 tons per year. “Around 25% of oranges are exported and the sector provides employment to around 500 locals,” added Oliveira.
However, the fruit boom has really only benefited the larger players, claimed the regional director of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Algarve, Pedro Monteiro. That’s “because the smaller fruit producers mainly sell to the Horeca [hotels, restaurants and cafes] businesses and street markets, which have been closed during the pandemic”, he explained. According to Monteiro, the smaller fruit producers are just resuming business now that the local markets and the hospitality and hotel chains have started to reopen again.