Spain can expect to see a shorter and later early stonefruit campaign due to the frosts that hit production zones in February and March.
Although no official forecast has been issued on the peach and nectarine crop, a meeting held last week by producer organisations heard that harvesting in the Region of Murcia would start 8-10 days later than usual and volumes would be down by 20-30 per cent.
Around 7,100ha were affected by the frosts, with just over half of them in Murcia, where most early production is located.
“Of the 380,000 tonnes of fruit that the region produces, we expect to be left with 300-310,000 tonnes, provided the fruit develops correctly, which is not a given since many farmers are reporting problems with fruit set,” said Antonio Moreno or agricultural union UPA.
Other areas with later production are also expected to see delays and production shortfalls although the extent is not yet known.
The meeting also heard from the agriculture ministry about its new strategy to improve competitiveness within the sector.
It includes publishing weekly reports throughout the season in order improve the flow of information in to growers in order to facilitate planning and monitoring; tighter controls on new plantings; better coordination of exports; and improved access to loans.