Strong winds cause severe damage to Valencian citrus

The Valencian citrus sector is again seeing its crops affected by the weather conditions. This time, the damage is being caused by strong gusts of wind, which have been recorded several times this past week.

The wind has exceeded 100 kilometres per hour in various citrus growing areas, leaving many fields with the ground covered with fallen fruit.

"The upper part of the trees is the most affected, as it's also the most exposed," says Valencian producer Carlos Arenes. "Depending on the area, there is a greater or lesser degree of damage. I have a Nadorcott mandarin plantation with 50% of the fruit on the ground. I don't know how this will end, but it's a real shame, considering how good the fruit's prices are this year, since we already had lower yields than expected," he adds.

The fall of the fruit has also been a consequence of the weakness of the peduncle; a result of the sharp temperature contrasts during the month of December.

It is also expected for much of the fruit that remains in the trees to have seen its quality affected. "We are dealing with west winds, and therefore very dry, which will cause alterations in the skin, so a lot of fruit won't qualify to be sold as Class 1," says Vicente Ramos, director of operations at Albenfruit.

Almost all second season varieties have been hit, although the most affected are mandarin varieties like the Clemenvilla and the Lane Late oranges.

The market prices, which were already between 5 and 10 cents higher this season due to the +30% drop in yields, are expected to rise even further. "It is a widespread problem across the Region of Valencia, so market prices are expected to rise, since the availability of fruit suitable for marketing will be reduced and a lot will go to the juice industry."

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