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"José María Martínez, of Cambayas: "Lower production compensates for loss of Russian market"

Spain: Around 30% of pomegranate harvest lost

The pomegranate season of the Valencia variety, which started in mid-August, is almost finished and the markets are awaiting the arrival of the Mollar from Elche on 30 September, which is the flagship of the Spanish campaign.

"So far, the Valencia pomegranate season has been characterised by a reduction of about 25% in production volumes; a similar percentage to what we expect for the Mollar variety," says José María Martínez, head of the cooperative Cambayas, one of the largest pomegranate producers and marketers, based in Elche, Alicante.

This decline, mainly due to problems in the settling of the flowers due to the lack of rain during the spring and summer in the eastern region, "has so far not had an impact on the average prices, which have been under pressure due to the Russian veto," said the executive. 

Therefore, as regards the Mollar campaign, which will start in a few days, the similar drop in production could compensate for the volumes of this variety that will not be shipped to the Russian market," explains Martínez. Taking into account both direct and indirect exports, Russia accounted for around 30% of the exports; more than 13,000 tonnes. 

"This also indicates that, although pomegranates are currently a popular fruit, the market supply is growing faster than demand, not only in Spain, but also in the rest of the world; a trend which it seems will continue for now," he affirms. 

The acreage devoted to Mollar pomegranates in Elche and the surrounding municipalities is of approximately 3,000 hectares and this year a harvest of about 35,000 tonnes is expected. 

Some of the major destinations right now, besides the domestic market, are the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the Persian Gulf and Asia.

Turkey and Israel will benefit from the Russian ban, as it will allow them to increase their shipments to this destination. "Turkey and Israel will get a larger market share and, even if the veto was to be lifted in the future, it would be difficult to recover that share," he points out. 

The crop accounts for over 80% of the agricultural production in many municipalities in the south of the province of Alicante and generates more than 3,000 direct jobs and a thousand indirect jobs.

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