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Italy: Spain beats us complementary and programming-wise

Having a look at what goes on in other countries is a great strategy to keep in touch with the evolution of the sector - this is the reason behind the visit to Bollo International Fruits, a leading citrus fruit, melon and persimmon producer.

Italian agronomist Francesco Perri (at the centre) visited Spain as consultant for AOP Armonia, an Association with which Bollo International Fruits collaborates. 

The agronomist met with José (Pepe) Vercher, general director of the group (left) and Francisco (Paco) Albuixech Navalon, agricultural production manager (right)

The Bollo Group owns 800 hectares of citrus groves in Spain currently producing 15,000 tons of fruit. Overall, the Group handles 70,000 of citrus fruit 12 months a year as, when the Spanish production is over, it procures it from the Southern hemisphere, South Africa (Nadorcott and Orri oranges), Chile and Argentina (oranges and grapefruit) in particular.

"We started from Andalusia, the Huelva area in particular, where early clementines are cultivated. The weather was really good this year, so quality was excellent." The super-early varieties cultivated in Spain are Prenules, Clemenrubi, Cultifort, Orogros and Basol and they are all mutations from Oronules.

Clemenrubi plant in Huelva.

"Usually, super-early varieties have a mediocre quality and they are harvested starting from 15th-20th September. This year though, quality is very good and harvesting started on September 10th, a whole week in advance."

Clementine Prenules from Huelva (Isla Cristina).

"I was accompanied by Francisco (Paco) Albuixech Navalon, who has already visited Italy quite a few times. This way, we can compare our countries and learn from one another. The Spaniards have a well-articulated programme. While in Italy citrus fruit is produced in three of four regions that are very close to each other, in Spain they are cultivated on over 1,000 km. In addition, the various areas are very complementary."

Francesco Perri and Francisco (Paco) Albuixech Navalon during the visit.

They went on to visit Murcia. "Weirdly enough, clementines are 10 days late with respect to past years due to the weather. This delay will also affect the quality of the fruit." 

Clemenrubi plant in Murcia (delayed ripening).

The situation in the Castellon area (Valencia) is rather stable as usual.

"This year, clementine production is Spain is good. In addition, they increase cultivated areas every year. In Italy we don't even have the late hybrids. Nadorcott (or Afourer) and Orri production is looking good. These varieties cover the period between February and April, during which Spain has no competitors".

Francesco Perri visiting citrus groves.

The orange production is also looking good both as regards early (Navelina) and late (Navelate, Lane-late, Navel Powell, Navel Barnfield, Navel Chislett, Navel Rohde) varieties, available between February and May. Valencia oranges, available between May and June, was also good.

Francesco Perri, agronomist
Cell.: (+39) 338 4164800

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