Pitaya production is starting to take off in the Spanish province of Huelva. The president of Huelva's first pitaya production cooperative, Alberto Garrocho, said to Efe that after two years of the first plantations, 30 more partners have joined the initial 22, adding a production area of approximately 20 hectares.
The cost: 60,000 Euro per hectare
As the president explains, the initiative to plant and market this product has been backed by agricultural producers across the entire province, as it has a "relatively low cost. A plantation can be set up for about 60,000 Euro per hectare if you have access to recycled materials, or 90,000 if new ones are used."
Garrocho said that in Huelva, unlike in America, growers have gone for intensive cultivation, "with plants that can live for 11 or 12 years and become productive after 2 years. The product obtained is already known in the European markets and has an important market niche, although it is also imported from South America."
Huelva's growers offer a product of "the highest quality, whose shipping costs to European markets are lower than those currently paid for imports from the other side of the Atlantic," says Garrocho.
The fruit travels in conditions similar to strawberries, in trucks at temperatures of around four degrees Celsius. "It is a treasure from a nutritional point of view, as it contains antioxidants, mucilages, ascorbic acid, phenols..., and plenty of Vitamin C," says Garrocho.