The foreseeable drop in citrus production in Castellon, especially in Clemenules, the main variety grown in the province, will presumably affect the amount of labor that will be required this season.
"The lower the production, the fewer contracts there will be," summarized Carles Peris, the general secretary of the Unio de Llauradors. Castellon will have the Community's highest decrease in production due to a 15 to 20% decrease in Clemenules, Peris stated. "The rest of the varieties will have more stable figures and some will even have a slight increase." However, we must also take into account that we won't be able to market some fruit because it is affected by the cotonet plague.
Some sources in the sector even estimate that the decrease in kilos collected in the 2021-2022 period could be higher. "We could harvest 40 or 50% less since there will be less production per tree, less cultivated area, and considerable losses due to the cotonet plague and the effects of the strong hail that affected in several locations in the province this summer."
The director of the Sant Josep de Burriana cooperative, Juan Vicente Moros, agreed that there could be a possible drop in hiring. "Most citrus companies and cooperatives have a stable number of discontinuous permanent staff, who are later supplemented by reinforcement people, but if there is less activity, the contingent campaign is shorter," he stated.
The situation contrasts with the experience in 2020 when there was a job boom. In October 2020, contracts in agriculture grew by 91% in the Plana Baixa region compared to the same period of the previous year.
The Noa's group, with extensive experience in temporary hiring for citrus companies, stated that the incorporation period had not yet begun, but they were already carrying out training activities for the people interested in working in warehouses and cooperatives. Even though there won't be data regarding hirings for a few weeks, the company doubts there will be a job boom again this year. "That was an exceptional situation; not only did production increase but the sector also needed to have backup personnel in the face of positive coronavirus cases," they stated.