Lleida's fig cultivation area has increased as producers look to diversify their productions. According to the latest official data from the Ministry of Climate Action, there are half a thousand hectares devoted to the cultivation of figs in the province and, according to the latest official information from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, last year, exports of this fruit exceeded 3 million euro.
Jordi Vidal, the coordinator of Asaja Lleida's Sweet Fruit sectoral, is one of the farmers who have opted for the production of figs. "I have been diversifying my production for years, so as not to have all eggs in one basket, that is to say, not only producing stone fruit, but also figs, cherries, or pears. I started to explore different productions and how profitable they are after the Russian veto and the fall in stone fruit prices brought down the farm's economy and I was struggling,” he stated.
The harvest has already begun with limited volumes, as the early production of short grapes was affected by the cold, just as it happened to the peaches and nectarines, so the production has been very low. However, the campaign lasts until well into October (even until the end of the month) and producers must wait to see if the production will recover in the coming weeks, Jordi stated.
Italy is one of the main buyers of Lleida's fig harvest, together with Germany, and France; however, the consumption of figs is increasing in the domestic market.
"We can find more and more figs in supermarkets. A few years ago it was difficult to see them outside specialized establishments; it's a sign that consumption is becoming widespread. Lleida produces different fig varieties, but the most widespread and traditional variety is the Coll de Dama fig, which is very appreciated in the markets because of its great quality."
Producers also bet on figs because of the prices they can reach. Last Tuesday, the average prices of figs at Mercabarna, according to their variety, stood between 2.5 and 3.5 euro per kilo, with a maximum of 4 euro.