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Small and medium calibres to predominate

Spain: Mollar pomegranate season has officially started

The Mollar pomegranate season has officially started in the Spanish municipality of Elche after the symbolic "first pick" was made ​​by celebrity chef Alberto Chicote, chosen by the Association of Producers of Pomegranates from Elche to carry out this duty. The event brought producers and traders together, as well as other representatives of the pomegranate sector. Such is the case of Celia Mas, managing director of Campo de Elche, who gave us some insights into the current campaign's prospects.

"After a bad campaign of the Valencia variety, with losses of up to 30% caused by drought and excessive heat, the prospects for the Mollar pomegranate season point to a slight increase in volumes compared to the previous year because, as although a lower yield per hectare has been registered, many new plantations have become productive," explains Celia. 

"The Mollar pomegranate harvest is therefore expected to reach around 50 million kilos, with a fruit characterised by an optimal internal quality, despite the fact that medium and small calibres will predominate," she continues. "In recent weeks, we have had some rainfall, while night temperatures have dropped, which is essential for an optimal ripening of the pomegranates."

The campaign should last until January, mostly due to the fact that "the fruit retains its beneficial properties and internal appearance during storage," affirms Celia Mas. 

Regarding the search for alternative markets after the veto imposed by Russia, which received about 30% of all direct and indirect shipments, Elche's Mollar pomegranates have found new clients in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries, and have also seen a growth in exports to the Middle East.

Meanwhile, many orders already arrive within the domestic market, since, according to Francisco Oliva, president of the Mollar Pomegranate Producers Association of Elche, the promotional work conducted in recent years has led to an increase in consumption in Spain, going from 10% to 70% of the production in just seven years. 

The process is still underway for the fruit to receive a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) from the EU, which has requested more documentation, namely a comparative study with pomegranates of the same variety produced outside this area in order to establish the differences between Elche's fruit and that cultivated in other geographical areas.

The deadline for Brussels to prepare the report is still several months away, according to Oliva.

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