HIGH PRODUCTION costs have slashed Alicante province’s lemon harvest by 40% compared to last year.
Alicante’s Asaja young farmers association said that 800,000 tons of lemons have been produced this season- 20% less than during a normal harvest.
High costs incurred by growers and a reduction in foreign demand are said to have contributed to the fall.
The season had started with high hopes of fetching farmers up to 40 cents per kilo but Asaja said that despite those prices being ‘similar to those fetched seven years ago’, things turned round due to ‘very high production costs’.
An Asaja spokesperson said that prices had dumped to around 20 cents per kilo for fino lemons- the most common variety of lemons in Spain which flowers between April and May.
Jose Vicente Andreu of the Vega Baja citrus producers association said: “The low national and European demand for lemons has been driven by inflation, the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine with the resulting drop in people’s purchasing power leading to low prices.”
He also used Germany as an example of being a major importer of Spanish lemons, with demand falling there by 20%.
Over the recent heavy storms, Vicente Andreu said that the ‘lemon is a very delicate fruit and extremely sensitive to weather changes, with May’s heavy hail storms causing damage to citrus farms in Elche and Orihuela.”
In regards to the drought, he said that water supply was going to be the key factor over the summer months.
“If getting water is going to be difficult for us, then the crops will suffer a lot- especially in July and August which could be catastrophic because that is when citrus fruits grow fat,” said Vicente Andreu.
He added that without proper water supplies, lemons will be of smaller and poorer quality with less juice.
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