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Watermelon and melon growers fear that imports will sink prices

Date: April 24, 2024 Time: 08:31:48

If you go to a supermarket you will find watermelons and melons, with a wide range of prices, which are on average well above 2 euros per kg. However, there is concern among producers about a summer in which the paradox of last year could be repeated: low remuneration at source, with which they cannot cover their production costs, compared to high final prices for the consumer . A ‘black swan’ such as drought doesn’t help much either and, unless there is more rainfall, it can reduce local production, opening the door to more imports.

“This week there has been a slowdown in purchases” and, in melon, the prices at origin are between 22 and 25 cents/kg. All of this is far from production costs estimated at around 40 cents per kilo on average. In this sense, the representative of this agrarian organization acknowledges that “there is a lot of concern in the sector.” To the extent that there are producers who allocate part of their watermelons and melons for animal consumption. In this regard, Góngora qualifies that nearby farms should be sought “so as not to have to bear the cost of transport.”

In no way does the COAG representative believe that the price to be paid by the consumer stimulates the purchase and does not hesitate to speak of “imbalances” in the fruit and warns against the fact that a significant part of the production is being sold poorly. “The pressure at source is such that we are shooting ourselves in the foot,” he concludes, warning against growing dependence on third countries. Paqui Iglesias, head of vegetables at UPA, speaks along a similar line, who agrees that the prices at source are below production costs and does not hesitate to speak of “speculation” and launches a notice: a 30 has been planted % less watermelon outdoors in Almería. One of the most outstanding producing areas.

For example, according to the website agroprecios.com, black seedless watermelon has gone from around 23-28 cents/kg this Tuesday to between 21 and 26 cents per kilo on Wednesday. Such is the case of white watermelon whose prices have gone from the range of 18-23 cents/kg on Tuesday to 16-21 cents/kg the following day. The mini has gone from a range of 10-15 cents/kg in one day to fall below 13 cents/kg.

“They don’t buy it – in reference to the local watermelon and melon – and the farmers are giving them away, some of a very good quality, but there is no one who buys it,” laments Iglesias. The representative of UPA, adds the criticism towards the marketers and the distribution, one more factor: the imports of third countries, especially of the Moroccan watermelon. “For a couple of years it has become fashionable, but it does not have the same sanitary guarantees,” she points out. In this sense, she points to the possibility of “a clamp” to lower prices. In addition, Góngora (COAG) maintains that imports are being used as an “argument to lower the price, sometimes it even sounds like an excuse.”

For the person in charge of Fruits and Vegetables of the aforementioned agricultural organization, in April the prices at origin behaved despite the importation and it shows his surprise because the remunerations have fallen right at the beginning of the campaign. “It is a strategy to lower the price at source. In addition, the Food Chain Law is not being respected,” he concludes.

“The marketer is paying a pittance”

“I have already had losses of 20,000 euros,” laments Juan Cabeo, who is a watermelon producer in Almería and owns a hectare-and-a-half plot of land. “The marketer is paying a pittance, not only for the watermelon, but for the cucumber, the zucchini…”, criticizes this producer who acknowledges that the fear that the watermelon will go bad and have to be thrown away ends up accepting what they offer In his case, he has received 15 cents per kilo for his production after 5 months of care and investment in water, fertilizers, plastics, seedbeds and attributes important benefits to distribution.

In his opinion, it doesn’t help that in the supermarkets around him this vegetable is at 1.90 euros/kg. A price that does not look very attractive. “Everyone gets rich at the farmer’s expense,” says Cabeo, who wonders which young man is going to dedicate himself to the field “if he goes bankrupt.”

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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