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Multimillion losses in citrus. Delay of strawberry campaign

Spain: Rainfall causes damage to horticultural sector

The weather is now starting to improve after almost ten days in a row of rainfall and bad weather which have given no relief to most Valencian growers. They have been most affected by the storm, especially those specialising in citrus and kakis. Berry plantations in Huelva and open field vegetables in Murcia have also been hit.

Multimillion losses for citrus growers in Valencia and Castellon
The rains have persisted for about ten days in Valencia and Castellon, bringing the harvesting tasks to a halt and interrupting the fruit handling in the packing plants. The fruit cannot be harvested and stored in chambers when it is wet because it increases the chance of rotting. For this reason, almost all stocks that were available until now have already been sold.

According to the agricultural organizations AVA and La UniĆ³, the rains have already significantly damaged the skin of the mandarin varieties that have yet to be harvested, especially the Clemenules, whose season is currently in full swing, with about 70% of the production in Castellon and Valencia still to be harvested. The losses are expected to amount to over 100 million Euro, so they are asking for tax breaks and promotional campaigns in order to encourage consumption. For the later varieties, however, these rains will have an influence on the fruit's growth, given that calibres have been rather small due to the prolonged drought.

The rains have ceased in Valencia and Castellon and wind gusts could help prevent the situation from getting worse in the coming days because of the excess moisture.

Kakis have also been affected and there will be losses in production, although to a lesser extent, since their skin is more resistant than the citrus fruits. Those kaki fields where the proper treatments to combat excess moisture haven't been used will suffer the consequences the most.

Losses in the grapes for New Year's Eve in Alicante
The famous bagged Aledo grapes for New Year's Eve from the VinalopĆ³ Valley are now in season and, therefore, the constant rainfall has also taken a toll on their quality. It is expected that there will be a reduction of the total volumes and higher handling costs. The sector will surely have to import more grapes from Brazil.

The rains will delay the strawberry campaign in Huelva
The rains have been accompanied by tornadoes in very specific cases and affected about 30 hectares of crops in Palos de La Frontera and Moguer, causing serious damage to infrastructures.

The rains have also caused damage in the areas of Lepe and Cartaya, mainly to strawberry crops, flooding greenhouses and causing erosion damage in the fields which is already being repaired. In some plots of these areas the damage reaches 50%; however, the vast majority of strawberry farms are fortunately insured.

In general terms, fruit losses caused by rainfall are not significant for the sector, as the strawberry harvest has not yet started in most production areas; however, the lack of light during these cloudy days, accompanied by lower temperatures, will result in the harvest being delayed by around 10 days.

Murcia interrupts the lettuce harvesting tasks
The rains this week and the forecast of more rainfall for the next few days add to the production gap that is expected in the coming weeks ahead of Christmas, given the considerable advance of the harvests. Excessive rainfall prevents the crops from developing normally and the harvest from being carried out at the usual pace, which will have an impact on the volumes available for these weeks.

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