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Spain: Andalusia is the world's leading cherimoya producer

Currently, Andalusia has around 3,000 hectares devoted to the production of cherimoyas, which yield around 40,000 tonnes of fruit worth 48 million Euro; this makes Andalusia the world's leading growers in terms of both production and acreage. Nearly 100% of Spain's production comes from plantations in the provinces of Granada and Malaga, according to data provided by the Andalusian Councillor of Agriculture, Elena Víboras.

Víboras explained that "between 85 and 90% of the production is sold in the Spanish market, and only 10 to 15% is exported, mainly to countries like Portugal, the UK, France and Germany."
In terms of consumption, the Councillor said that, in Spain, four in ten people are unfamiliar with this fruit, "despite being the world's largest producer and consumer." Current domestic consumption stands at less than a kilo per person, while in Andalusia it reaches a little over two kilos.

In this regard, Víboras pointed out that "Andalusian companies have many opportunities to expand, promote and improve their income, both in the domestic and the European markets." It is currently the only Andalusian fruit with a protected designation of origin, in addition to being a food with many healthy properties. Still, the acreage has been declining since the mid-90s due to the losses in profit margins as a result of high costs and low prices.

At the moment, cherimoya growers are especially affected by shortages in irrigation water. Elena Víboras stated that Andalusia's Government "stands behind" the projects for the improvement of irrigation in the tropical coast of Granada, as long as the central government also provides support and assumes its responsibility to ensure that the corresponding Hydrological Plan is enforced."

Víboras also explained that Andalusia's Council of Agriculture "believes that the sector should aim to integrate around Organisations of Fruit and Vegetable Producers (OPFH), promoting a greater concentration of supply and the participation of growers in the social structure of the entity."

The policies to support the cherimoya sector are primarily regulated by the Common Market Organisation (CMO) for fruit and vegetables. The CMO has powerful tools for financing through Funds and operational programmes subsidised by the European budget. These allow for the undertaking of various modernisation and research projects, as well as for the improvement of marketing channels, resulting in increased competitiveness for the productive sector.

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