Watermelon whole and cut

Spanish imports of Morocco-grown watermelons increased 3 per cent in volume and 27.5 per cent in value through the opening four months of the year.

Imports of the fruit totalled 18,015 tonnes at a value of €16.5m, representing an average price of €0.91 per kg, Fepex reported.

For the five-year period of 2016-2020, imports grew by 132 per cent tin volume and 163 per cent in value, according to data from the Customs and Excise Department, standing at 88,570 tonnes and €91.4m respectively.

The prices of Spain's greenhouse watermelons and melons have been below €0.40 per kg for watermelons and €0.25 per kg for melons at peak times of the season, according to COEXPHAL.

This was largely attributed to competition from Morocco as well as the adverse weather in Europe during the months of May and June that affected consumption.

Watermelon joins other products, such as tomatoes, as being the most affected by the increase in Moroccan produce on the Spanish market, with volumes continuing to grow.

Between January and April, overall Spanish imports of fruit and vegetables from Morocco increased by 2 per cent in volume and 4 per cent in value compared to the same four-month period of 2020, totaling 220,771 tonnes and €423m.

'And this problem extends to the community market, where the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector sends 94 per cent of its exports,' Fepex highlighted. 'Fepex considers that the European Commission should apply the measures provided for in the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, to alleviate the damage to producers.'