The fruit harvest in the Spanish region of Aragon will be 15% smaller than in 2019, totaling some 530,093 tons, according to the agrarian organization Uaga. This drop will be caused both by the inclement weather conditions in the spring and by a 3.52% reduction in the cultivable acreage devoted to fruit trees in the region.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, in Spain, the total area planted with peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, plums, apples and pears amounts to just over 190,000 hectares; of these, Aragon accounts for 37,033.
In terms of acreage, peaches and apples have seen a reduction of almost 10%, while cherries have recorded an expansion of slightly over 9%, compared to 2017.
As explained in a telematic press conference by the provincial secretary of Uaga Zaragoza, Toño Romé, Aragon expects to harvest around 29,000 tons of cherries, which entails a 30% drop. In areas such as Calatayud, which have been hit by hail, this percentage increases to 50% for the early varieties, while the loss of late varieties amounts to 20%.
For apricots, the losses are estimated at 20%, especially for the early varieties, with a harvest of around 17,000 tons. The plum harvest is estimated at 11,000 tons; 3% less than in the previous year, while the peach and nectarine production is expected to reach 350,000 tons and is down by 13% compared to 2019.
The 49,000 tons of pears expected entail a 10% drop, caused by poor fruit setting and the impact of hail, and in apples, the decrease will reach approximately 18%, with a harvest of 76,000 tons.
Given that the fall in the production is going to happen in Spain and Europe as a whole, and that in Italy, which is Aragon’s main competitor, the losses will reach up to 25-30%, Uaga is confident that exports will be smooth and good prices will be paid. This is essential to prevent a reduction in the profitability of growers, since production costs are up by 30% due to the enforcement of measures against COVID-19, as explained by Oscar Moret, head for the fruit sector at Uaga.