Last week, the earliest producing areas of Lleida, namely the region of Segrià, started harvesting and marketing the first peaches and nectarines of the season.
"Last Thursday, we started harvesting peaches, nectarines and flat peaches. We are also still harvesting significant volumes of cherries, whose campaign will end in about two weeks," says Francesc Pena, manager of SAT Bepa.
"During this first week, we have shipped flat peaches to wholesale import customers in the Netherlands, France and Scandinavian countries. Next week, we will start our programs with supermarket chains, as we will have more consistent volumes," he says.
The grower and exporter expects a similar production to last year's due to the impact of frost; around 30% less than usual. However, he believes that there will be some differences at a commercial level compared to last season.
"The beginning of the 2020 season was not good in terms of prices and I believe that this year they should be good from the start. At the moment, although the demand is still not very high, the shortage of volumes is offset by the prices," he says.
"From next week onwards, temperatures are expected to start rising and the weather should improve a lot across Europe, so prices will tend to rise or, at least, remain at similar levels compared to last season's. Until then, the European markets will be supplied mainly with Spanish and southern Italian fruit, with limited volumes. From week 26 onwards, prices may exceed those of last season, as the markets will be missing the fruit that frost destroyed in much of France," says Francesc Pena.
According to the manager of this Lleida-based company, although the amount of fruit affected is already very high in much of Europe, the losses may further increase, depending on how the fruit develops in those plots that were hit by cold temperatures.