Low temperatures have cooled European demand for stonefruit as the campaign gets underway in Valencia according to growers.
The Ava-Asaja agricultural union said producers trying to market the first volumes of apricots, nectarines and peaches were reporting a “the notable lack of interest shown by the large supermarkets” in light of the persistence of the cold snap in a large part of Europe.
Ava-Asaja warned that this was causing a real “collapse” at the beginning of the campaign and triggering concern among Valencian producers.
“Farmers face a devastating choice,” the union said. “Either they are offered a price well below the cost of production or they simply have the option of delivering their fruit to the warehouse without any previous agreement on price…which also translates into ruinous prices.”
According to the union’s president, Cristóbal Aguado, the outlook for the summer fruit campaign “could not be worse”.
Ava-Asaja has called on the national and regional and Eurorpean authorities to implement measures to support the sector “as a matter of the utmost urgency”, including the activation of withdrawal mechanisms provided by European legislation to reactivate demand.
“It is vital that these withdrawals should benefit both farmers who belong to producer organisations (POs) and those who do not,” Aguado said.
“When the problems started in the recent citrus campaign, we asked that the withdrawal be activated, we were ignored and we all know of the catastrophe that followed. We can’t afford to make the same mistake again.”