Spain: 80% of Huelva’s late orange still unharvested

Spain: 80% of Huelva’s late orange still unharvested

80% of Huelva’s late oranges are still on the tree, as “the price paid at origin is so low that producers are considering whether or not it is worth harvesting them.” 

This was stated by the president of the Citrus Growers Association of Huelva, Lorenzo Reyes, who explained that the situation is not final. “Much of it will be harvested gradually, depending on how the market evolves.” However, Reyes describes the current campaign as “terrible, because prices have remained at rock bottom prices.” In fact, orange prices at origin have oscillated between 0.16 and 0.17 Euro / kilo, and in recent weeks they have dropped even lower, down to between 0.11 and 0.12 Euro / kilo; well below the production costs, which according to growers, stand at around 0.18-0.20 Euro / kilo.” The average profitable price to be able to face the next season is of about 0.30 Euro / kilo.

“These prices will cause many growers to have serious funding problems next season,” lamented Lorenzo Reyes. And this despite having achieved a good production in the province, with 295,000 tonnes; 2.5% more than last year, but consumption levels have remained very low, which has led to a sharp drop in prices. 

The quality of the production this campaign has suffered because calibres have been slightly smaller and the fruit’s external appearance has been affected by issues such as the ‘clareta’, ie white spots caused by the weather conditions, which does not have an impact on the fruit’s taste. Both factors have contributed to lower prices. However, there has also been fruit “of optimum quality that has not reached the market value of other years,” said Reyes.

In this context, the president of Huelva’s growers association stressed that “production costs such as fertilisers, labour, etc. continue to increase, making the situation very difficult for growers.”

The positive note has been that the mandarin campaign “has gone well,” affirmed Reyes. Most citrus growers have managed to diversify their production, and as such those who grow oranges also cultivate mandarins. The fact that the results in recent seasons have been better for mandarins than for oranges is leading producers to expand the acreage of the former. Right now, from the 16,600 hectares of citrus plantations in the province of Huelva, 56% correspond to oranges and 44% to mandarins, with a clear trend of the latter to continue expanding. In fact, the province of Huelva is the leading mandarin producer in Andalusia.


Publication date: 5/29/2014