Spain registers its worst lemon campaign in history

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Spain registers its worst lemon campaign in history

The Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos (COAG) of Spain, reported the serious situation the lemon production sector is facing.

Through a statement, it detailed that the current campaign will go down in history as the worst in terms of profitability, with prices below production costs for the vast majority of producers, "which is resulting in serious economic losses in the main production areas and even abandonment of farms and uprooting of trees."

"We citrus growers have assumed the cost of bringing forward our annual production and now, to our misfortune, we are assuming the cost of throwing the lemons on the ground, without any income. That is, we are spending about 30 cents/kg of lemon to get nothing in return," said Pedro Gomez, head of the citrus sector of COAG.

"Not counting the kilos that have been underpaid to those of us who produce, if we only take into account the 400,000 tons of fruit that has been left in the fields we would be talking about losses of more than 120 million euros," he added.

The head of the citrus sector of the COAG said that they are facing a highly speculative market, with a growing degree of integration in replacement of a social model of citriculture and without precise elements for the management of the most serious crises, as is the case of the current one.

COAG added that the "growing volume of imports that sink European markets, climate change alterations and diseases and pests, sometimes also imported, as well as the increase in surface area in recent years, have led to this painful situation."

According to the latest data published by the Survey of Surface Areas and Crop Yields in Spain, prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), the area of irrigated lemon trees has increased by 51% (+16,800ha), mainly by the conversion of area of other citrus, non-citrus fruit trees or vegetables.

The entity explained that, along with adopting urgent and structural measures to alleviate and reverse the present situation, it should work for future campaigns and the sector's medium-long term.

COAG is awaiting a response from the MAPA for an urgent meeting to analyze a series of proposals and to know the vision of the Ministry on the current situation and possible actions that are being considered.

Related article: Spain urges the EU to safeguard citrus campaign amid France protests

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