Spanish citrus growers are facing the worst year on record, as the final stages of their latest crop are coming to a close, with many of them abandoning their crops as uneconomical to harvest.

In the Valencia region, famed for quality oranges and lemons, as well as being the country´s largest clemantine production area, many crops are lacking in size and colour, resulting in research having to be carried out to try to ascertain the reasons for the poor performance. The Institute of Agricultural Research has already started looking into methods and treatments to find the cause of the problem, as well as finding ways of preventing dryness and poor calcium assimilation.

Overall, however, the main factor affecting the crops is one that may seem outside the hands of those researching the problem, unseasonal weather conditions. The mild weather through the last year alone has caused problems with both consumption and demand, resulting in a saturated market where there is too much fruit than the buyer demands, especially during February and March, and prices having to adapt accordingly.

Cheaper imports are also having a toll of sales figures, with Spanish clementines shipping for export at around 15 to 20 euro per box, those from Morocco are selling for between 12 and 13 euro. A similar situation affects oranges, with plentiful supply from Egypt pushing process down.

The demand for cheaper prices in stores has also led to some of the biggest buyers of fruit also switching to cheaper imports, as can be seen in the number of products on supermarket shelves with origins outside of Spain.

Despite some growers abandoning crops, and the belief that the acreage of land for citrus fruits will continue to reduce, there are some growers who are abandoning citrus altogether, diversifying into other fruits, with the kaki being one that is growing in favour with consumers, and a market yet to be depleted by the foreign importers.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43382/

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