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Francisco Balas, from Higos Fiki:

"When the Spanish season begins, the markets prefer our fruit, especially the United Kingdom"

The exclusive breva fig campaign will start in just a few weeks. "Breva figs are the equivalent of extra-early fruit in other species. In Spain, the main production area is Alicante, although there is also significant production in Extremadura," says Francisco Balas, from Higos Fiki.

"At this time, there is some supply from Peru, South Africa, and even some from Israel in the market, but when the Spanish season begins, the markets prefer our fruit, especially the United Kingdom, and it fetches very good average prices."

Just like regular figs, "breva figs are very delicate when they reach maturity and have a short shelf life, so in order to be able to export such figs from overseas, they must be harvested very green, which gives them lower Brix degrees than what we can achieve with the Spanish fruit, closer to the European market," he says. "The figs from Spain very rarely fall below 18 degrees Brix, and in our case, we always stay above 20-21 degrees."

"This factor, in fact, has resulted in a bigger area being devoted to breva figs than to regular figs in France, since they do not have enough heat throughout the summer for the seasonal fruit to fully ripen."

It should be recalled that the breva figs produced at the beginning of the summer are the latent fruits that did not develop in the previous season, and which grow on the trees while the first leaves are sprouting. "To produce breva figs, you need to use specific varieties, certain production frameworks and specific pruning techniques. Also, due to the characteristics of the fruit, the weather and temperature fluctuations are also a major factor. While last year's harvest was extraordinary, this year May has been colder in Extremadura and many figs have fallen to the ground, so it seems that it will be a shorter campaign."

"For regular figs, however, we expect a good campaign. In the first third of the year, it has rained quite a bit in Extremadura, and there has been a recovery of the water levels in the soil, so if there are no big heat waves in June, we expect to have a very good harvest."

"In our farms in Badajoz, the harvest, as in other years, will start around July 20, and although the commercial window of regular figs overlaps more with the campaigns of other areas, the quality and sweetness of our fruit make it a premium choice in the market. We have seen Turkish figs being brushed after being harvested green, something that would be impossible to do with the ripe figs we harvest in Spain."

"In this regard, in order to improve the shelf life of the figs intended for export, Higos Fiki is taking part in a varietal improvement program. We are currently in the process of phenotyping and selection, and we hope to have a new variety available on the market in about 3-5 years."

"For now, the various Spanish production areas are growing traditional varieties, all of them with certain virtues, but also with defects, and through this program, we want to be able to offer the market trees that combine all the virtues of the already existing varieties, with greater resistance to drought, and with firmer and more resistant fruits; without internal cavities and with a completely closed ostiole to ensure a longer shelf life and better capacity for transport to export destinations."

For more information:
Higos Fiki
Plaza San Martín s/n
06410 Torrefresneda, Badajoz, Spain
Tel.: +34 638 961 227
[email protected]

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