Garcia Ballester citrus

The sharp rise in sales for Spanish citrus seen during the latter stages of the season have failed to translate into significantly better returns for Valencian growers, according to one of the region’s agricultural unions, La Unió de Llauradors.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic led to a sharp increase in demand for Spanish citrus, both because of its perceived health benefits by consumers and the fact that sourcing product from non-EU suppliers like Turkey and Egypt became an issue due to border closures.

But the union said the price increases seen in later varieties had not been enough to offset the smaller crop.

The effect was compounded by the fact that most sales contracts had already been agreed prior to the price increases, La Unió said.

Describing the 2019/20 campaign as “atypical” and with “many ups and downs”, the union calculates that the average price paid to producers increased by 80 per cent compared with last season, returns had only risen by around 20 per cent because of the smaller harvest.

Producers received an average of 0.41/kg this season compared with 0.23/kg last season. But the sector generated an income of €841.22m overall compared with €701.55m in 2018/19.

The union pointed out that “when the season is poor, downward prices are renegotiated with producers, but the same doesn't happen if the season goes better than expected”.