This season’s Andalusian citrus campaign is expected to record a negative result this year as a consequence of the long-term effects of severe January frosts in the southern Spanish region, which have hit demand and prices.
With only a few weeks left to the season’s completion, regional association Asociafruit said growers' optimism for the campaign based on its positive start had been “left in ruins” as a result of the frosts, denting export markets’ confidence in Spanish citrus and leaving doubts over the quality of affected fruit.
The association said events had also badly affected the recovery of the sector after a difficult 2011, which was marked by poor prices aggravated by the E.coli crisis.
Although there were areas of citrus production in Andalusia that did not suffer any frost damage, Asociafruit said the negative impact caused by the unfavourable conditions in terms of the fall in demand and prices had been widespread.
Asociafruit’s citrus sector president, Enrique Pérez Saturnino, said: “We have to bear in mind that after the frosts, producers tried to send the maximum quantity of citrus possible before the entry of affected fruit.
“This had two negative effects – a massive fruit offer in the markets and a general fear in the markets of the arrival or possible arrival of poor quality fruit. Both factors caused the fall in prices.”
Asociafruit said it was even less optimistic for the years ahead, claiming that the recent ratification of the EU’s agreement of association with Morocco could lead to the disappearance of citrus production in Andalusia.