In recent years, the switch in land allocation from pome fruits to stone fruits has been constant, mainly in Catalonia, the first producer region of apple and pear. Nevertheless, the sector seems to have reached a point of balance, with volumes that are comfortable to manage hence the extension of allocated land remains stable. Meanwhile, stone fruits keep growing but not to the detriment of pome fruits any longer.
We asked Manel Simón, Afrucat’s Director-General, what stopped crop abandonment, mostly regarding apple. ‘We started a variety renewal process, replacing little adapted varieties with others offering better yield, colour and market acceptance’, he stated. In this sense, orchards of Golden apple have remained stable in the last two years, even increased slightly.
At this moment, a great deal of the Golden apples produced in Catalonia come from new strains adapted to our soil and climate, with excellent results in terms of quality and production. ‘Like the rest of varieties and species, Catalonia has been characterised by a deep variety reconversion’, added Mr Simón.
Gaining in the markets
It is precisely with that revamped Golden, besides other varieties such as Pink Lady or envy, that the Catalan sector intends to increase its presence in the markets. The damage caused by Italian, Belgian and Polish productions cannot be denied, more so with the Russian market in lockdown, but they in Afrucat trust in strategies of the likes of designations of origin and other quality label linked to the product’s origin to catch consumers attention. ‘We must be cautious about Club varieties because, if we are not able to communicate their differentiation properly, we could saturate customers’, pointed Mr Simón.
Mr Simón admits that the Canadian market is interesting, and also a hot topic due to the current negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), but he highlights that their main goal by now is raising consumption within Europe. ‘We have a great opportunity this year, as our big competitors will start their seasons with significant production shrinkages, which we in Spain will not’, reminded us the Director-General.