The Unió de Pagesos has complained that, since some companies that are normally in charge of harvesting mandarins were breaching the contracts they had signed with producers, tens of thousands of tons of mandarins could remain unharvested.
According to the agricultural union, as a result of this situation, which mainly affects individual producers who don't belong to cooperatives or organizations, 40 to 70% of the production will remain in the trees, or producers will have to bear the costs of the collection without knowing if they will be able to recover their investment.
So far, the breach of contracts has taken place in the cultivation of mandarins, mainly in Catalonia, the organization stated. According to statistics from the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Food, in 2020 Catalonia produced 183,300 tons of citrus, 141,700 tons of which belong to the group of mandarins.
Losses on expected revenue could exceed 7 million euro and nearly 40,000 tons could be left unharvested.
The problem denounced by the union contrasts with the good start of the citrus campaign in October and November of last year. Back then, the price of oranges and mandarins in Spain and in the rest of the European Union evolved positively over the previous year due to the increase in demand caused by COVID-19.
In addition, there has been no market saturation to justify the breaking of contracts denounced by the union. Unlike other campaigns, imports from non-EU countries, such as Egypt and South Africa, fell in autumn and the increase in imports in summer was absorbed by demand.
Unió de Pagesos denounced these practices by the citrus buying trade. "The breach of contracts are leaving producers in the lurch and will have important consequences on the farm's viability." The union will demand that the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Food, through CadeCat –the body in charge of controlling food contracts–, and, if necessary, the Food Information and Control Agency, carry out a campaign to control compliance with citrus purchases and sale contracts, inspecting and sanctioning possible infractions.
Source: Efe / lavanguardia.com