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"Malaga's tropical sector needs higher yields to avoid losing prominence in Europe"

'The sub-tropicals in Malaga: world leadership' virtual meeting has brought together the main players of this sector in the province. The event was attended by the manager of Cajamar's Business Banking, Juan Pedro Feria; the CEO of TROPS, Enrique Colilles; the research professor of the CSIC and head of the Department of Subtropical Fruit Growing of the IHSM La Mayora, Iñaki Hormaza; and the national coordinator of Fruits and Vegetables of Asaja, Benjamin Fauli.

One of the main conclusions of the meeting was that Malaga's tropical sector had to increase the productivity per hectare of its farms, which currently produce almost half of what the farms in other producing countries produce, to avoid losing prominence in Europe.

"I think that we are an advanced country and a world leader regarding modernization and innovation, but our production is clearly out of date. We produce less than we should produce. Sale prices are satisfactory, we sell our products, and there is demand. However, our productions are very limited. We have the worst production per hectare of the countries that are in the market," said the general director of Trops.

"If we increase our production with the surface that we have, we will go from having 8 or 10% of the European market to 20%, which are bigger words. However, if we reduce our production because we don't have enough water, they can replace us," said Colilles, adding that having water infrastructures to guarantee the tropical sector had irrigation water was essential.

Asaja's representative was also very clear in this regard. "We have to increase the productivity of our farms. We have to be able to transmit the methods, techniques, and knowledge, as well as carry out the necessary research that farmers need to increase that productivity. The truth is that the price of the fruit is good and it is still profitable, but we could make much more money if we invested in research."

According to Iñaki Hormaza, avocado crops are less productive in the Mediterranean and in California than in Peru because of the climate. "There is a management problem, a problem choosing the appropriate farms to grow this product. Sometimes producers think that they can grow this product on any farm if the climate is ideal, and that's just not true." According to Hormaza, the production yield can be increased to 10,000 and 12,000 kilos per hectare by having good management, choosing well where to grow the crops, and developing knowledge.



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