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Álvaro Lara, from Extraterrestrial Agriculture LLC:

"We will continue to have our range of organic citrus available until July"

Although we'll have to wait until the end of the season to know whether the initial forecasts for the 2023/24 campaign will be met, the prospect so far is that the province of Seville will account for more than 46% of the 1.18 million tons of sweet oranges expected to be produced across Andalusia.

"In the last 20-30 years, citrus production in the entire Guadalquivir Valley area has grown significantly, and the quality of all citrus fruits from Seville is magnificent," says Álvaro Lara, from Agricultura Extraterrestre S.L., a company specialized in organic production.

"This year, we are obtaining an unbeatable quality and good sizes. The first part of the campaign went very well for the organic market, with strong demand and good prices at origin; but after Christmas, at a time when prices had risen significantly at origin, consumption plummeted, leading to a delay in the harvest in the second part of the campaign."

In conventional farming, the campaign has been a struggle from that moment on, with a very challenging market situation due to the increasing pressure of low-priced imports. "However, the organic production has generally escaped these situations, because while the conventional market is price-driven, organic customers primarily appreciate quality, the origin and the product being cultivated sustainably."

"Therefore, even though we are in the same citrus market, we have not been as affected by the situation with Egypt, and although consumption may have dropped slightly compared to previous years, overall it has been a good campaign for us," says Álvaro.

"At this time, we have already finished with the mandarin campaign, but we continue with Lane Late oranges, and there is still a lot of fruit in the fields from the Powel, Chislet and Valencia varieties; in fact, the outlook is that we will be able to supply very high-quality oranges to our customers until July, in a campaign that this year, according to forecasts, will last 9 months."

"This week, we have also started harvesting the first yellow peaches and nectarines from our farms in Seville. The stone fruit campaign is on schedule, in line with those of previous years, but with considerably better volumes than last season," says Álvaro, recalling the impact that last year's frosts had on the flowering of the early varieties. "There were plots where we didn't pick any fruit, so this year we anticipate having higher volumes."

"We will continue until the summer with yellow peaches and nectarines, followed later by white nectarines and Paraguayo peaches, and then in June/July with some plums," he says. "We made our first sales just two days ago, and we see that customers in France and Germany, which are two of our main markets, are very eager to start with the stone fruit after so many months of consuming winter fruits."

"We can offer our customers sweet potatoes for up to 11 months"
Agricultura Extraterrestre is a third-generation family business that chose to start marketing its own products directly in 2012 and to convert its farms to organic under its current brand, La Extra-Terrestre. In addition to citrus and stone fruit, its range also includes sweet potato, a product that was introduced about 8 years ago and which has become very important for the company. "We can offer it to our customers in a marketing campaign of up to 11 months."

"Even though the Easter rains delayed the planting, this campaign we are planning to plant the same area as in previous years, and the temperatures have so far been ideal for the plants at this early stage, so for now we foresee a good harvest of organic sweet potatoes by early September."

For more information:
Agricultura Extraterrestre S.L.
Carretera A-8005 km 14.7
41310 Brenes, Seville, Spain
Tel.: 671 77 33 42
[email protected]

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