Spain - Lack of rainfall causes Valencian loquat harvest to fall by 30%

30.04.2024 110 views

The organization Unió Llauradora expects the loquat production in the Region of Valencia to amount to around 10,000 tons, which entails a 30% drop compared to the previous campaign (14,000 tons). This is primarily due to the lack of rainfall.

In 2022, the total acreage stood at 1,079 hectares. Of these, 892 hectares (83%) are in the area protected by the PDO Callosa d'En Sarrià, 123 in Alto Palancia, and 28 in Camp de Morvedre (3%). Overall, the acreage has been reduced by 9% in the last decade.

The Callosa d'En Sarrià cooperative markets 75-80% of the total loquat production in the Region of Valencia. This year, around 8,000 tons are expected, compared to the usual 11,000.

The weather conditions have also led to the harvest starting between two and three weeks earlier in Marina Baixa. In the area of the PDO Callosa d'En Sarrià, almost 75% of the production has already been harvested, so the harvest is expected to be finished by mid-May. The earlier start has made it possible for kakis to face less competition from other fruits, such as apricots, peaches or cherries. Given the lack of rainfall, sizes are also smaller, although this has allowed the quality and organoleptic qualities of the fruit to be exceptional.

The official prices at origin are 50% higher this campaign, although this has not translated into a higher income for producers due to the smaller harvest and increasing production costs. As always, one of the main problems is labor. Just in the area of Callosa d'En Sarrià, between 500 and 1,000 day laborers are needed each campaign.

Carles Peris, general secretary of LA UNIÓ, says that it is "a product with high production costs due to a meticulous agronomic management, which requires manual tasks, such as thinning, careful picking and manual packing. A sufficient and fair retail price must be set to make up for this entire process."

In the region of Alto Palancia, and especially in the municipalities of Segorbe, Castellnovo and Soneja, the production and sizes are expected to be good. There have been no frosts, so the setting has been excellent, and the lack of rainfall has prevented phytosanitary issues, so a very good quality is expected.

The fruit from Castellon is still unripe and is expected to start being harvested in June. Despite this being the second most important area for the crop in the Region of Valencia, the production is already becoming residual, with a high level of abandonment or replacement. In the last decade, the region has lost almost 90% of the plantations.

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