The greenhouse watermelon and melon campaign has been bad for Andalusian producers, who have seen prices plummet due to the lack of demand, as the weather in Europe has not been ideal for the consumption of these two summer fruits. In the latest report from the Government of Andalusia after the end of the greenhouse campaign, a provisional balance of prices at origin shows that these have stood at around 0.30 Euro / kg in the case of watermelons and 0.40 Euro / kg in that of melons. Average prices have been 39% and 29% lower, respectively, than in the 2020 campaign.
Now the production is mostly underway in the Levant, while the plantings continue in Castile-La Mancha. "We are at the beginning of the campaign in Murcia and there is uncertainty, fear and little joy, as nobody knows what will happen with the demand, prices and the weather," said Efeagro Domingo Llamas, a watermelon producer who is part of the Executive of UPA Murcia.
However, there is hope that during the two and a half months of Murcia's season, prices will be acceptable enough, unlike what we've seen in Almeria, so that "we can hold on and not have to stop producing," he said.
In some producing areas of the Levant, melons and watermelons were affected by the rains during the fruit setting, although this has been offset by the expansion of the acreage in plantations of the Guadalentín Valley, in Murcia, says Llama.
Less melon and more watermelon in Castile-La Mancha
Pending official data from the Castile-La Mancha Council of Agriculture on the acreage devoted to both products, it is estimated that slightly less melon will be planted than in 2020, but also a little more watermelon.
Last year, the watermelon and melon campaign in Castile-La Mancha "was a great one," with "price uniformity and profitability for the growers," said the president of the Watermelon and Melon Interprofessional of Castile-La Mancha, Cristóbal Jiménez. He also highlighted the social value of this crop in the area, where there are 5,800 hectares devoted to melons and 3,800 to watermelons.
One of the interprofessional's main tasks is to ensure there's a good planning of the campaign's planting in this autonomous region, where "the supply is highly fragmented" but where, unlike in Almeria, costs are lower because of it being carried out in the open ground and with good quality water.