Valencia citrus growers call for assistance as crisis looms
The Valencia Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) called on Spain’s Agriculture Ministry to offer a line of direct assistance for citrus growers due to an “absolutely disastrous” season with weather damage, rising costs and lower market prices for fruit.
In a statement, the association said that growing costs have risen more than 30% over the last year due to increases in electrical energy, fuel and farming inputs. At the same time, prices paid to growers have decreased, even though the price paid by the end consumer for citrus fruits has increased, the AVA-ASAJA alleged.
“The government must act urgently because it is evident that the mechanisms that stabilize the market are not working”, said AVA-ASAJA President Cristóbal Aguado.
Aguado went on to say that the presence of citrus fruits in the European market which are not subject to the same phytosanitary or environmental conditions are also replacing Valencian fruit, and while it is not the only cause, the war in Ukraine has also made the situation worse.
The industry representative went on to question the norms which he said are hurting local growers, and if action was not taken in the short term the number of abandoned orchards will multiply.
“The only sector which is feeling losses is that of the growers. All of the rest who talk recently about their problems can pass on the costs into their margins and still make money”, Aguado said, calling for a formal investigation into the citrus market.
He also called on government support from the local government for other crops past citrus, be it persimmons, wine grapes, stone fruit or almonds, which have lost profitability.
Valencia has been hit by important frosts and weather related issues in February and March.