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The sector is still divided under the pressure from large distributors

"Spain: "This year has been far from superb for citrus growers"

According to José Enrique Sanz, manager of IGP Cítricos Valencianos, the current Valencian citrus season could be described as "commercially acceptable" because, despite a 30% drop in the Spanish production volume, prices have been somewhat better. However, expectations were much higher.

"Demand has been very intermittent, especially in November and December, when we thought the goods would reach the market more easily and at higher prices," he points out. "During this last stretch of the season, prices still fail to reflect the reality in terms of product availability, even though the prices currently paid at origin for the fruit are high."

Despite the better prices paid, producers have suffered the impact of the great shortage of fruit, as this has not allowed them to increase their profit margins by much, as they have remained slightly above production costs. "It has been a far from superb year for citrus growers," pointed out José Enrique.

"The sector is still divided under the pressure of large distributors"
With about 35 registered companies, IGP Cítricos Valencianos handles both certifications and the promotion of Valencian citrus.

"We keep a record of the warehouses and plots run by the cooperatives and companies affiliated to the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI); we control the products' traceability through inspections, ensuring that they meet the quality requirements we set for class I, high and extra," explains the manager. "The second most important pillar of the PGI is the promotion of the umbrella brand used by the registered warehouses, which aims to convey an image of unity of the Region of Valencia's citrus sector."

According to José Enrique Sanz, traditional export destinations include France, the UK, Germany and Belgium, which have been familiar with Valencia's citrus growing and marketing tradition for over a hundred years and know that "the product stands out from those supplied by other origins, even though they still need to be willing to pay us the right price for that. But, due to the wide range of citrus fruits available on the market, they have put pressure on prices and have turned the product into bait to sell other products. They value quantity over quality, taking advantage of the fact that other countries sell the fruit at lower prices, and Valencian companies are not fighting this properly, as the sector is still too divided to stand behind fair citrus prices."

The PGI seeks to register more late clementine varieties
The PGI started with some 28 orange and mandarin varieties when it was founded in 2009 and now it already works with 48 varieties, of which some "are becoming obsolete, so we need to expand to new varieties with good potential in the market," affirms José Enrique.

The trend in the sector is to plant more varieties very early and very late in the campaign in order to obtain a higher profitability, given the saturation usually recorded in mid-season. Such is the case of the Navelina and the recent addition of the CVVP, an extra-early M7. The commercial period of the Navel is increasingly shorter, moving on directly to the Navel Lane Late and then to late varieties that are interesting because of their taste quality and thick skin, which makes it possible to export them over long distances. Some of the most noteworthy ones are the Navel Chislett and Navel Powell, among others."

"We will focus on those that have already been commercially successful. We are looking to expand with highly demanded late varieties, such as the Nadorcott, Orri or Murcott."

José Enrique Sanz
C.R. IGP “Cítricos Valencianos”
M: +34 628 64 50 62
T: +34 963154052
C/ Guillem de Castro, 51-pta.8
[email protected]