Spain - Plum production may drop by around 25% this year in Extremadura

17.05.2024 98 views

The first nectarines of the 2024 campaign are already being harvested in the Spanish province of Badajoz, and just like with peaches and flat peaches, the production volumes are expected to be normal. In just under a month, it will also be time to start with plums, which are Extremadura's most representative fruit in terms of volume, although this year's production is expected to drop by around 25% compared to the previous campaign.

"We are already harvesting nectarines, although volumes are still limited, but next week we will already have more significant volumes and we'll be able to offer more continuity to our clients," says José Aurelio García, manager of Explum, a cooperative located in Valdecalzada, Badajoz.

"The weather conditions have been very unstable, especially in terms of temperatures, with many ups and downs that make it difficult to predict the harvest dates of the different varieties, as well as the sizes, etc.," says the producer and exporter.

"However, unlike in the previous campaign, it all points to Extremaduran fruit having a greater window between the harvests of Murcia, Lleida and Aragon, since things are moving in a more staggered manner in all producing areas," he says.

Plum production could drop by about 25% this year
There is still almost a month to go before the plum export campaign kicks off, with prospects of a notable drop in the production compared to last year in the main producing areas.

"We expect the campaign to start in the first week of June with small quantities and then with more consistent volumes from the second and third week of that month," says José Aurelio García. "Given the lower fruit load on the trees, the harvest should be around 25% smaller on average. There are varieties like the Golden Globe yellow plum for which the harvest will fall by between 80 and 90%, and others for which volumes will drop by about 15%."

According to the manager of Explum, the lower production is due both to the impact of the weather conditions during the flowering and setting of certain varieties and to the ongoing trend among many growers of replacing plums with more profitable and mechanized crops, such as olives, cereals, nuts or industrial tomatoes.

"This year, although to a lesser extent compared to previous campaigns, plum plantations have been uprooted again, as their cultivation entails more risks compared to other mechanized crops that require much less labor, and they also have a much smaller market share than other stone fruits," says José Aurelio García.

"In the 2023 plum campaign there were already fewer price fluctuations. The reduction of the acreage, especially of less interesting varieties, is resulting in a more balanced supply and demand on the plum market," says the manager of Explum. "We hope that the smaller harvest this year will also translate into good prices, less waste and good rotation in the chambers."

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