EU: Spanish citrus group labels South African mandarins' high prices "absurd"
Spain's Valencian Farmers' Association (AVA-ASAJA) has expressed anger that South African citrus is currently fetching significantly higher prices than local growers during their last season.
The organization said that over recent days prices of South African Clemvilla (a.k.a Nova) mandarins have in some cases reached levels that are four times higher than Spanish clementines in the "disastrous" 2018-19 campaign.
That particular variety has been selling at over four euros per kilo while red and white grapefruit have been "well above" three euros per kilo, it said.
In addition, the group said the market had also been "inundated" with nectarines and red plums from South African when Spanish growers began harvesting their own fruit and fetched "ruinous prices".
Spain's citrus and stonefruit industries have long complained that the crisis in their sectors has been caused by excessive imports and a lack of EU support, especially in the way of the Russian ban on European produce, implemented in 2014.
In a statement, AVA-ASAJA said it was "absurd that after a disastrous campaign by Valencian growers, in which many of them had to abandon their farms, the prices paid by consumers have quadrupled for these products coming from South Africa, which has worse working conditions than in Valencia".
"This situation clearly shows the weakness of the Spanish and European supply chain, and that the consumer does not set the price, but rather the large retailers that use and abuse Valencian farmers do."
Valencian fruit growers have thus had to sell their crop at "ridiculous prices", despite the fruit's high quality, the group added.