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Nina Pullman

BY NINA PULLMAN

@nina_pullman

Spain aims high with Murcian melons

An increase in some Spanish growing regions for charentais melons ensures its places as second largest producer in Europe

Spain aims high with Murcian melons

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Spain continues to outpace Morocco in number of melon plantings but remains behind France, according to 2014 forecasts announced yesterday (May 14), at Medfel, Perpignan.

France will have the largest area (14,060ha) of melon plantings in 2014, followed by Spain with around 2,900ha and Morocco with approximately 1,800ha.

There will be an increase in yellow charentais melon plantations in the Murcia region of Spain to between 2,500 and 2,600ha for 2014.

The Moroccan regions of Dakhla and Agadir have both reduced planting areas to 300ha and 450ha respectively, while the Marrakech region maintained levels at around 1,000ha.

Bernard Borredon, co-president of the International Association of Melons (AIM), said there has been an increase in Spanish plantations over the last three years, whereas surfaces in Morocco have declined. He added that in the past this has been the other way round.

Catherine Taussig, of APREL, said there had been great demand for Spanish melons at the end of last season, as a result of a late French crop. While co-president of AIM, Bernard Chiron, commented: “Small melon producers are disappearing. Now you need at least 10 to 15ha to manage.”

In the south east of France, there will be 5,400ha of charentais melons, with all growing formats stable or slightly reduced. The South West also reported a reduction taking surface area to 3,500ha, while the Centre West will have 4,900ha planted and a slight reduction in all growing formats.

Taussig said: “The harvested tonnes will make up for the reduction in surfaces. This year regions will re-focus on their specific production calendar.”

In 2013, France’s primary export destination for melons was Belgium, followed by Switzerland, Italy, Germany, UK and Spain.

Borredon added: “We are specialising more and more, but melons are still number one for favourite summer fruit.”

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