High energy prices are set to trigger the costs of preserving pome fruit in chambers in a year in which the sector is facing a significant drop in production due to the frosts in April. According to official forecasts, Lleida will produce 69,860 tons of Golden apples this year, i.e. 34% less than last year and 35% below the average for the 2017-2021 period. However, these figures could be revised downwards considering that the sizes of the fruits are lower than usual as a result of the extreme and persistent heat throughout the summer.
According to estimates by the leader of Asaja in Lleida, Pere Roque, this year the cooperatives and plants will have to pay around 15 euro cents per kilo of apple in conservation costs when they had previously been paying 8 cents per kilo.
Fepex and Afrucat have requested the Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Minister of Agriculture to suspend the extra cost attributable to the adjustment derived from the royal decree that establishes the Iberian exception in energy prices. In this regard, Pere Roque said that the compensation alone amounted to nearly 6.5 euro cents per kilo and warned that the farmer must be able to pass on the costs that he described as brutal.
In this context, farmers fear that the apples will have a low value in the market. They stated that the apple's quality was guaranteed and asked the distribution to adjust their requirements in face of the low calibers achieved.