This campaign, Valencian citrus producers estimate their accumulated losses at 131 million Euro, as revealed by the top representatives of Cooperatives Agro-alimentàries (Cirilo Arnandis), AVA-Asaja (Cristóbal Aguado), La Unió de Llauradors (Ramón Mampel) and Fepac de Castellón (Néstor Pascual), who defined the situation in the sector as very discouraging. The repeated setbacks and neglect from the authorities on all fronts accentuate the deep crisis in the citrus sector, which is clearly visible in the abandonment of fields, the age of producers and the lack of generational change, since young people do not see the activity as attractive.
The significant loss of 131 million Euro is the result of two very negative facts: the loss of 1.2 billion kilos (no less than 30% of the harvest in the current season), due to successive disasters caused by drought and rainfall, and marketing problems, which have resulted in sharp price declines and ruinous liquidations for the growers.
Citrus fruits continue to lead export statistics, but any circumstance that disrupts the functioning of a heavily pressured market translate into imbalances. This season, exports have not only failed to grow, as would have been necessary given the 23% increase in the production, but have actually fallen; by 1% up to January (according to the latest official figures), but by 5% in terms of value.
That is, there has been a reduction in the volume sold (when the harvest was 23% greater) and prices have been lower. The decline in value of the mandarins exported is still more pronounced and reaches 9%.
To make matters worse, there has been a huge amount of damaged fruit (1.2 billion kilos, especially first season mandarins), which has remained in the fields. Citrus growers have concluded that this is “a particularly serious situation that deserves urgent attention.”
To deal with such a negative situation, citrus producers are asking the Public Administrations (Valencia, Madrid and Brussels) to adopt measures aimed at “promoting the competitiveness of Valencian citriculture and generational change, strengthening the position of the growers in the food chain and establishing mechanisms to protect the incomes that producers perceive.”