The campaign in Bajo Cinca, Aragon's main fruit-producing area, is coming to an end in a year in which results are, at the very least, discouraging.
Producers in the region were only able to collect 60 of the 280 million kilos that could have been produced because of the frost in April. This drop in production has been reflected in the number of temporary contracts, which fell by 35% between May and July, the months in which there is more work, compared to the same period of 2021.
Oscar Moret, a fruit representative of UAGA Aragon, estimates there was an 80% decrease in the production of stone fruit and a 35% decrease in pome fruit. "The balance is disastrous," he stated. There was only work in the cherry fields, as it was the only fruit that had an acceptable production. In the rest of the productions, there were 60% fewer workers in the field and 70% in the processing plants. "That means there was a lack of wealth for the territory," he says.
The lack of fruit has generated a rebound in prices. Unfortunately, as UAGA and Asaja have assured, this is not enough to maintain the profitability of many farms, so they insist on asking for direct aid.
Prices increased by nearly 10 cents per kilo on average to 70 or 80 cents in processing facilities and by more than 1 euro in the market. However, that won't compensate for the decrease in profitability when we include what producers will be paid by their insurance, which has a 30% charge, and the little fruit that has remained in the field, they stated. In addition, the processing plants have had less work so they will find it very difficult to cover the fixed expenses with the increase in energy, they added.
This is the second season in a row with low productions (in 2021 there was a 70% decrease in peach and an 18% decrease in pear). "Producers in the countryside that have insurance can cover some of their losses, but it's very difficult for the processing plants that haven't been able to process product for two years to pay what they owe and remain afloat," they stressed.