Extending the harvest of late mandarin varieties will be key in the future

Spanish mandarins close the season with price increases and orange sales remain stagnant

The Spanish mandarin and clementine season is almost over, while oranges will remain available until the end of July. Mandarins are doing well at the end, while in general, oranges are hardly yielding any profit margins.

The last Nadorcott and Orri mandarins are currently being sold, and although most of them have already been harvested, there are still some batches in storage for the month of April. In the second part of the season, as soon as the Clemenules stocks were finished, purchase prices began to rise, especially for the Tango, Nadorcott and Orri; a trend that has continued until the end of the campaign. For the Nadorcott and Tango, for example, prices have risen from around 0.60 Euro per kilo to approximately 1.00 Euro per kilo.

Although prices were lower in the beginning, the demand has increased in recent weeks and prices have rebounded in the last part of the campaign. "The mandarin campaign has finished well," says a Valencian producer and exporter. "We have no stocks left of Nadorcott and Orri, but if we had some in April and May we would sell them without problems and at higher prices. Those who are not in a hurry to sell the fruit and hold it for longer will manage to sell it in better conditions," he says.

In fact, there are already several growers planning their productions in a way that will allow them to extend their harvests in the future. "In the next season, I think it will be key to slow down the harvest of the later varieties; something that can be achieved with good management in the field," says the grower and exporter.

Stagnant market for Spanish oranges due to high purchase prices
Oranges, on the other hand, are not doing well, at least for the marketers, who are only managing to obtain a very small profit. This is a very different situation to that observed at this time last season, when the demand for oranges -whose production was also more limited- shot up due to the impact of the pandemic, and their selling prices also increased.

At the moment, Navel Powel, Chislet and Barnfield oranges are being sold mainly to those buyers who are willing to pay a little more for the Spanish production. This year, the competition from Egyptian oranges in the European markets is tougher than usual. The production of Egyptian oranges is between 20 and 30% higher this season. Moreover, about 70-80% of their oranges have reached medium and small sizes, which have no commercial outlet in the Asian markets.

"The prices at which we are buying oranges at origin are quite high and making a profit from their sale is really difficult. Sometimes, we are even forced to sell at cost price. The truth is that the trade of oranges has remained quite stagnant for the entire sector," says a marketer.

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