The area planted with melon and watermelon in Castile-La Mancha this year decreased by more than 11%.
According to the community's Melon and Watermelon Inter-branch organization, producers will plant melons in 5,033.72 hectares this year, i.e. almost 650 hectares less than last year. The decrease is more significant than the one that occurred in the previous campaign and goes beyond the initial forecasts of the organization, which indicated the sowing area would be more than 5% lower than in 2021.
The area in Ciudad Real, the province that hosts the largest area of melon plantings, the area will decrease from 4,626.01 hectares to 4,208.66, the Inter-branch organization stated. Cuenca is the only province of Castile-La Mancha that will increase the sowing area of this crop, going from 117.13 hectares to 132.89.
The area devoted to watermelon decreased in all provinces and amounted to 2,826.03 hectares, i.e. 321.79 hectares less than in the previous season. The Inter-branch organization had forecast a decrease of nearly 20% in the area sown and, taking into account the data declared in the PAC by farmers, the area devoted to this crop in Castile-La Mancha decreased only by half of what was expected, just over 10%.
According to estimates, the cost of producing melon and watermelon has increased by 30% on average. Thus, this year, producing one kilo of melon will cost 0.34 to 0.36 euro, and producing a kilo of watermelon will cost 0.23 to 0.25 euro, according to the organization's estimates.
Faced with this situation, the Inter-branch organization calls on the sector to respect and comply with the Food Chain Law.
The regional association estimates that the harvest will begin on July 20. The forecast is that at the beginning of the harvesting campaign in Castile-La Mancha the supply will exceed the demand, due to the overlap with other productions, which could have an impact on the starting prices at the regional auction.