The kaki campaign is already underway in the producing areas of the Spanish Region of Valencia and the prospect is that it will have a normal development, with an increase in consumption and prices amounting to around € 0.37 / kg, according to the Valencian growers' organization La Unió de Llauradors.
The first estimates point to the harvest reaching around 315,000 tons, which will mean a reduction of around 27% compared to the previous one. Because of this, the market should be able to absorb the expected production without any problems.
The strong demand that is expected for Spanish citrus fruits as a result of COVID19, following the trend observed at the end of the latest season, could also have a positive impact on kaki consumption, and consequently also on the prices at origin.
La Unió reminded the various commercial operators, whether private ones or cooperatives, that the fruit shouldn't be sold for cheap prices this campaign and that good planning throughout the four months of the season when consumption is optimal will lead to reasonable prices and profit for everyone in the sector.
The only concern among producers is that a small part of this season's discarded production will be rejected because of an increase in the presence of pests and the difficulties of producers to fight them, given the lack of effective phytosanitary products. The whitefly, the three cotonets or the unexpected resurgence of the Mycosphaerella fungus are some of those threats.
Regarding the latter, La Unió contacted the IVIA officials, who have reported that it is surely due to the resistance that the fungus has developed to certain fungicides of the QoI group (strobilurins). The Plant Health department already warned in April of the risk of exclusively using this group of fungicides, so a number of strategies were recommended to reduce the amount of inocula.
However, it is also acknowledged that it is due to the combination of two circumstances: an abnormally moist spring and a reduction in the amount of treatments carried out by some owners, as well as the abandonment of fields due to the disastrous prices of the previous campaign.
This organization has asked the Administrations to provide effective tools against these pests, since the current ones are ineffective to control them. Thus, it has requested direct aid for producers who have used recommended chemical methods and still suffered a reduction in their production as a result of the incidence of pests. The organization also believes that there should be an alternative plan in the event that biological methods (parasites, predators, pheromones) do not work.