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"Fully red apricots will replace the traditional ones"

Vicente Benavent, a young Valencian who grew up in Morocco and studied in universities in America and Madrid, decided to undertake a unique project in Valencia with the production and sale of profitable alternatives to the traditional citrus crops.

"My grandparents have cultivated citrus their whole lives; this is a business that, for most growers, has gone from prosperous to declining over the past 25 years. There has been a significant depopulation in rural areas, coupled with little modernization of new crops and few technological advances, and this has taken a toll on the great agricultural potential of the Region of Valencia. A couple of years ago, my grandparents had liquidations of 10 cents per kilo for their oranges," explains the young entrepreneur, manager of Wonder Fruit Spain.

"We are now focusing on apricots, kakis, walnuts and a line of exotic fruits consisting of guavas and papayas. We have gone from being fourth generation growers to selling our products ourselves, starting from scratch, after many calls and visits to fairs," he adds.

"Almost two years ago, we planted 100 hectares of apricots, 30% of which are fully red varieties and will bear their first fruits in May, although it won't be until next year when we'll have an important production and we expect to harvest around one million kilos."

These are varieties with large calibres and an intense colour. Their precociousness will allow Vicente Benavent to start the campaign earlier than France and Italy, which are the most important apricot suppliers. "I think that, in a few years, the fully red apricots will replace the traditional ones in the main European markets," he stated.

"We are surprised by the high profitability of walnuts"
"We recently recovered a 20-hectare plantation of Ser and Chandler walnut trees, already planted in Valencia. We have always oriented our products to export, but in the case of walnuts, we have been surprised by the high price we have obtained in the domestic market. Walnut production in Valencia is unique, as it seems that no one is willing to work on this crop, which adapts perfectly to the region's climate, with a harvest that starts earlier than those of Lleida, France and California. Sales have been very good between September And October."

Vicente Benavent has invested in machinery for the handling of walnuts and has registered a brand for the Spanish market: Abuelo Moreno Nueces Ibéricas, which is used in 5 and 10 kilo bags. "We are planning to expand our walnut production in the coming years."

Guava and papaya in Valencia for the first time
In addition to having a production of around 400,000 kilos of kakis, Vicente has also chosen to develop a new line of exotic fruits.

"We have a greenhouse in which we produce guava (the fruit with the most antioxidants in the world) and another devoted to papayas, with a double layer to keep more heat inside."

However, the most interesting papaya project is yet to come. "We are preparing some fields to plant papayas in Valencia, in an area where underground hot springs flow. If we manage to make use of these 30-degree waters at the farms, we could recreate a tropical climate with a not very high investment. For the time being, some of the markets for these products include France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates."

For more information:
Vicente Benavent
Wonder Fruit Spain
M: +627387051
[email protected]

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