The excess humidity caused by 9 days of consecutive rains is putting Valencia's summer fruit campaign on the ropes. The weather has led to curdling problems in apricots and donut peaches. In addition, the fruits have fattened rapidly due to the excess of water leading to the appearance of cracking in nectarines.
Moreover, the humidity can favor the appearance of fungi, such as Monilia on the peach tree or the denting of the leaves.
The Cooperativa Sant Bernat de Carlet, the largest fruit producer in the Valencian Community, estimates that there could be a decrease of approximately 20% in this campaign. According to the president of the entity Alvaro Nogues, this points to a historical low, as the sector has lost more than 40% of its acreage in the last two years due to profitability issues.
Despite this, the campaign starts with good prospects from the market point of view. The frosts in other producing areas of Spain (such as Murcia and Catalonia), in France, and the North and South of Italy, augur a decrease in production that can lead to better prices and profitability. However, the agrarian leader stated, this also depends on the quality of the production. "This worries us, because when you export you have to offer quality," the president of the Sant Bernat Cooperative stated.
A succession of bad summer fruit campaigns has led to a reduction in area. In Carlet alone, 3,800 hectares of fruit trees have been uprooted in the last two years, i.e. nearly 42% of the cultivated area that was exploited in the municipality.
This reduction in acreage will have a direct impact on the new season's production. In fact, estimates made at the beginning of the month by the cooperative already pointed to a record low of 4.5 million kilos. This is a relevant decrease if one takes into account that the Sant Bernat Cooperative sold 12 million kilos of fruit a couple of years ago and up to 30 million kilos of fruit a year in the 90s.
The lack of fruit will also considerably reduce the demand for labor this season.