The Valencian Association of Farmers (Ava-Asaja) has warned that the new almond campaign began with a significant reduction in world supply, due to the historic drought in the North American state of California and the spring frosts in Europe, which is already starting to translate into a recovery in prices in the main Spanish markets.
According to forecasts, production will decrease in three of the four biggest producers of almonds in the world: the United States, Spain, and Italy. The United States, which concentrates more than 80% of the global market share and practically operates as a monopoly, is expected to produce at least 10% fewer almonds than last year due to the lack of rainfall in the valleys of California and the depletion of many of its aquifers, a dramatic situation in which some farmers have even decided to uproot almond trees due to fears of long-term water deficit.
The drastic frosts in Europe last spring, other climatic adversities, and the incidence of pests and diseases, will decrease Europe's production, which accounts for around 6% of the international almond market, by 12 to 20%, in different areas in Spain and Italy.
According to Ava-Asaja, the almond harvest in the Valencian Community will be -in general- similar or slightly lower than last year due to the entry into production of the new plantations and despite the damage caused by fungi, hailstorms, the advance of the Xylella fastidiosa and the almond wasp, the latter of which is already present in twelve Valencian regions.
"The objective factors of the market point to better commercial prospects for the Valencian almond campaign," stated the head of Ava-Asaja's nuts sector, Armando Boullosa. "Growers hit bottom last year, with year-on-year price drops of up to 40% in some varieties, and we desperately need to achieve decent prices again to be able to recover. The season has started with an upward trend, driven by the increase in the price of the Californian almond, and this evolution should continue and even deepen because the supply will be insufficient to cover a demand that does not stop growing due to the almond's healthy properties and its growing versatility in food uses," he added.
In this sense, Ava-Asaja recommends that farmers defend a fair price firmly and calmly, while requesting the Valencian agri-food industry to prioritize purchasing native almonds, which present higher quality, food safety, and are environmentally more sustainable than importing foreign almonds, such as the Californian product.
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