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Extremadura expects stone fruit harvest to reach 250,000 tons, 22% below potential

Last week, the first peach and nectarine harvests started in Extremadura, where this season's stone fruit production is expected to amount to around 250,000 tons; 22% below its potential of 320,000 tons, as reported by the Extremadura Fruit Growers Association (Afruex).

While a similar harvest to that of the previous season is expected for nectarines, peaches, flat peaches and apricots, with only a slight decline in the yields, the plum production is expected to fall by about 30% due to weather issues during the flowering. Plums are the most representative product in terms of volume, although there is also an on-going reduction of the acreage devoted to certain varieties.

Furthermore, the rains recorded at the beginning of the month have also caused a reduction of about 30% in the production of extra-early cherry varieties in the Jerte valley.

"Although the supply is still very limited, we expect to start having significant volumes of peaches and nectarines from week 21 onwards, and the supply will continue to increase in the coming weeks," says Afruex manager Miguel Ángel Gómez.

"The plum harvest will start at the end of this month and, in general, there will be 30% less this year, with yellow plum experiencing the most significant drop in terms of volume," says the manager of this agricultural organization.

The rains and the drop in temperatures have slightly slowed down the harvest of cherries, peaches and nectarines in the previous week. "As a result, the stone fruit campaign, which was initially expected to start early, has ended up kicking off pretty much on schedule," says Miguel Ángel Gómez.

"Extremadura should be able to take advantage of a wider commercial window this year in the months of June and July, compared to the previous campaign, as the Murcian production is arriving earlier."

The shortage of labor remains one of the biggest challenges for Extremaduran fruit growers. "We are the only stone fruit producing area in Spain that works exclusively with local laborers during the campaign. However, we are now looking into the possibility of bringing in contingents of workers from other areas working with other crops, so that they can continue with the task in Extremadura," says the Afruex manager.

For more information:
Miguel Ángel Gómez
T: + 34 3924 30 42 00
C. Cánovas Castillo, 16,
06800 Mérida, Badajoz. Spain
[email protected]

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