The Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research has started drafting a study that will focus on the special characteristics of Elche's mollar pomegranates to help this fruit obtain a protected designation of origin.
This was announced today by the general director of Empresas Agroalimentarias y Desarrollo Rural, Marta Valsangiacomo, at a special event organised to mark the start of the mollar pomegranate harvest campaign.
Valsangiacomo highlighted the role played by Elche's city council and the Association of Pomegranate Producers and Traders to obtain this certification.
For his part, the president of the aforementioned association, Francisco Oliva, pointed out that it is expected for the production of mollar pomegranates in Elche to rise by 5% this year compared to the previous campaign.
More specifically, in the producing areas of Elche, Crevillent, Catral and Albatera 42,000 tonnes are expected to be harvested; 2,000 more than last year.
Oliva predicted that this year will bring "great quality" fruit, with bigger sizes and sweetness than in previous campaigns, due to the dry spring during the flowering stage and to recent rains.
Pomegranates are Elche's main crop, with 80% of local agriculture depending on this fruit.
In the same way, approximately 88% of the national surface devoted to growing pomegranates can be found in the province of Alicante, accounting for more than 90% of Spain's entire production.
The sector exports 70% of this production, mainly to European countries, such as Germany, France, the UK and Russia.