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CA: Rain in Spain a pain for clementine importers

Rain in Spanish clementine growing regions has held back the harvest there. With a crop that was already forecast to be short, and with short supplies expected from Morocco, Canadian importers are having a hard time finding enough clementines to satisfy consumers.

“Right now, we have a lot of demand for clementines in Toronto and Montreal, and supplies are really short,” said Robert Beauregard of the Montreal-based importer, Agri-Mondo. Harvesting in Spain, which, along with Morocco, is where Agri-Mondo sources their clementines during this time of year, has been delayed by persistent rain. Because pickers can't get into the fields when it's raining, fruit has been scarce.

“The past couple of weeks of rain has really affected the harvest in Spain,” said Beauregard. “Because you still have to wait about three days for the fruit to dry after it rains, a day or two of rain can delay picking by almost a week.” That kind of delay is not good for an import season that was already expected to be cut short by limited supplies from both Spain and Morocco.

“There was talk in Spain about 25 percent less fruit than last year, even before the rains,” said Beuregard. “And Morocco was expected to have about 30 percent less fruit because too much hot weather during summer caused a lot of fruit to drop.” Harvesting through the rain is not a good idea, as that would affect fruit quality. So the only option for growers in Spain is to wait until the weather clears before they start harvesting again. In the meantime, importers like Agri-Mondo have to wait until more clementines are shipped to North America.

Short supplies have caused prices on the open market to rise, though most retail chains have avoided rising costs because they have contracts with fixed prices. But those not with contracts who are looking for clementines can expect to encounter prices around $4.75 for a 2.3 kilogram box, according to Beauregard.

“If you don't have a program or booking, it's tough to buy off the market right now,” said Beuregard. “With the short supplies, and with ports being disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, and now delays from rain, we've had to work pretty hard to get fruit.”


For more information:
Robert Beauregard
Agri-Mondo
+1 514 323 9240

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