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Great volumes in first stage of the season and lower prices

Spain: High temperatures boost cherimoya campaign

The cherimoya season, which started in late September, is currently moving forward at a great pace in the areas of La Vega de la Palma and Motril due to the high temperatures, which have yet to drop below 25 degrees Celsius, which results in a quicker ripening. 

"The fruit is maturing very quickly, forcing us to work at a frantic pace and to be very careful in the handling. Cherimoyas don't have a long shelf life, so we have to market the fruit as quickly as possible," said Bruno Crabé, of the marketing department of Frutas Manzano, the largest producer and marketer of this exotic fruit in Spain.

With production concentrated in this first stage of the campaign, prices have suffered, although, according to Bruno Crabé, "less than expected." Cherimoya prices at origin currently stand slightly below EUR 0.90.

"Given the circumstances, we expect that there will be cherimoya shortages within a month, until the production areas of Almuñécar start harvesting, so prices should increase significantly around Christmas," he continues. 

A total of around 50,000 tonnes is expected to be harvested in the approximately 3,200 hectares planted in Spain.

Despite growing interest abroad, Spain has the highest potential 
Cherimoyas are mostly sold in Spain, with consumption focusing in Andalusia and the Mediterranean coast in general, although interest is gradually sparking overseas. 

"After several trade missions we have undertaken this year in different European capitals, as well as our participation in Fruit Attraction, we have seen more and more growing interest in this exotic fruit outside Spain from countries in both Europe and the Middle East, like Dubai. We have actually already shipped cherimoyas, although still in limited quantities, to the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands," explains Crabé.

However, the fragility and short shelf life of cherimoyas do not allow for long shipments, and taking into account that the fruit is still largely unknown in Spain, we believe the domestic market still has the most potential for growth.

In any case, cherimoyas are more time-consuming than other fruits because of the abundance of seeds inside. It is not a product that can be carried and consumed at any place and time, and is perceived as a commodity for tasting. 

"Maybe we need to be self-critical in our sector for the lack of investment in R&D aimed at obtaining seedless varieties; we believe this would be good to encourage consumption."

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