La Unió de Llauradors i Ramaders has made a call to address a citrus varietal diversification in the province of Castellon, where 60% of the mandarins grown are of the Clemenules variety.
According to Carles Peris, the general secretary of the organization, one of the reasons to carry out this reconversion is that the marketing period for Clemenules is getting shorter and shorter so prices plummet when there is a lot of production. In addition, a good part of the trees are more than three decades old, so their yield is more than exhausted, the citrus expert added.
"A large part of the Clemenules that we have in the province of Castellon are produced by very old trees. Thus, the fruit's conditions and resistance are not the most suitable for the market. That constrains and reduces the marketing period more, so the supply pressure is concentrated in a short time frame. As a result, prices collapse in the campaigns where there is a large supply," Peris said.
According to Peris, the sector needs to bet on new citrus varieties that extend the campaign's second part or to continue betting on the Clemenules variety but with new trees to plan a better season.
Support from administrations
The secretary-general of La Unió said that the Public Administrations had to participate in this varietal reconversion that the citrus sector needs to continue growing strongly. "The Administration must help the citrus sector achieve the reconversion it needs. In fact, there already are examples of this in some territories of the Valencian Community," Peris stated.
The general secretary of La Unió said the City Council of Algemesi, for example, was supporting the reconversion of citrus fruits through a line of specific aid for farmers.
"We must all work together, farmers, cooperatives, businesses, local and regional administrations for the future of citrus farming, for the good of our territory's economy and society as a whole," Peris stated.