Benihort has closed a bitter 2021 watermelon season, which was affected by the historic hailstorm of last July 31. The fruit production is 2 million kilos lower than expected, and both citrus and vegetable producers have suffered huge economic losses, estimated at 4,428,000 €. The lower demand for watermelon exports, caused by a not very hot summer, and the low prices also took their toll.
Benihort reports that 9 million kilos were eventually marketed in its watermelon campaign this year. Based on the number of plants grown, forecasts pointed to 11 million, as in the 2020 season. The fact is that the hailstorm recorded in July in several agricultural areas of Benicarló and the Baix Maestrat marked this year's harvest and caused 2 million watermelons to be left on the field during the harvest.
Benihort has been producing striped and black seedless watermelons for more than 15 years under the Benihort and Main brands. The cooperative has built a renowned watermelon brand which guarantees a high standard quality, with a good Brix, flavor and ripeness. However, "at a commercial level, sales suffered because the domestic market did not consume what it usually consumes, due to the impact of the pandemic, and the fact that temperatures haven't been ideal. The same has happened with exports. The atypical climate in countries like Germany, Poland or France also took a toll on the demand, since buyers usually associate the consumption of this fruit to the summer heat," says the sales manager of Benihort Hortalizas, Carlos Miravet.
Promising winter season
Despite going through a winter horticultural campaign that did not give much joy either, and the disastrous hailstorm in August, the cooperative is looking forward to the new autumn-winter season that will begin on October 1.
"Our entire management, commercial and technical team is on the side of our producers, who have had a really bad time. We are hopeful ahead of the new season, which will start with the first hybrid artichokes and will continue with the Blanca de Tudela variety with a Protected Designation of Origin. We must continue focusing on offering high quality products and we hope that our producers will receive good prices."