According to Asociafruit, the peach and early nectarine harvest campaign in the Guadalquivir valley and the province of Huelva has ended. "The campaign has been marked by good demand in European markets, so prices have remained at a good level, and the final result will be positive. However, we still have to assess to what extent it will compensate for the increase in production costs, which is estimated at 30%."
According to the sector, these results show that the early Andalusian fruit - mainly nectarine - has consolidated in the markets because of its quality. This, in turn, has stopped the decrease in cultivated areas, an ongoing trend for the last 15 years. In this period, there was a 70% decrease in the area devoted to this crop in the province of Seville, according to data prepared by Asociafruit.
70% of the Andalusian stone fruit is destined for export and 30% is consumed in the national market. France is the main export market, with a 37% share, followed by Germany (17.5%), Italy (17%), and the Netherlands (5.8%).
"The stone fruit campaign only lasts 2 months, but it is very intensive cultivation in the use of labor, providing 215 direct wages a year in the fields and warehouses. The stone fruit campaign has clearly highlighted the lack of labor issue in the Guadalquivir valley, a problem that was starting to be noticeable in other crops and that is far worse when several campaigns coincide. There is a shortage of workers in the fields and warehouses, so the immediate future necessarily involves starting to manage contingents of labor from other countries. That's why Asociafruit is going to request the urgent convocation of the Provincial Commission for the organization, coordination, and socio-labor integration of labor migration flows in agricultural campaigns."
In addition to the increase in costs and the lack of manpower, the sector has another major concern for the coming campaign: the current drought. "If there is no radical change in rainfall this autumn, there will be no alternative but to restrict irrigation, which will affect the volume and quality of production," Asociafruit stated.