Spain: Valencia's citrus hectarage continues to shrink
Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) said a recent survey by the Ministry of Agriculture showed growers had stopped producing citrus across an area covering 3,136 hectares, representing about 2% of the region's orchards.
In addition, 2,386 of vineyards have also been abandoned, corresponding to 3.4% of total production.
However, not all crops are declining in Valencia, with an additional 2,796 hectares of persimmon hectarage boosting the total area by 24%.
The planted surface area of other fruits like avocados and pomegranates also saw gains, but to lesser extents.
"This continues to be a disaster," AVA-ASAJA president Cristóbal Aguado said.
"The very sight recovery from last year's loss of 2.1% of planted surface area that was abandoned was partly motivated by many farmers betting on persimmons. But the figures do not lie - the lack of profitability of our main crops is forcing growers to throw in the towel, because they can't keep accumulating losses indefinitely.
"The total amount of production land abandoned in Valencia now stands at 164,000 hectares, which is outrageous and cannot be tolerated."
Aguado urged the Ministry of Agriculture to take immediate action to remedy the situation.
The report also showed the southern region of Andalusia, Valencia's main competitor, managed to gain 1,719 hectares of citrus groves this year, mainly for oranges and mandarins. The increase represents a 2.3% year-on-year rise.