LEMON producers in the province of Alicante, which are mainly concentrated in the district of Vega Baja, have begun the harvesting season selling the product at a cost of around 60 cents per kilo, double the price paid, on average, during the previous year, which stood around 18 to 35 cents per kilo; a welcome improvement for farmers who have suffered constant losses in value over recent years.
The main reason for this appreciation is that there has been a decline in production of around 25 per cent due to high temperatures during the months of May, June and July, thus reducing harvests.
The Association of Young Farmers (ASAJA) of Alicante estimates that about 244,080 tons of lemons will be harvested this year compared to 325,440 last year and with lower production comes higher sales value.
While the reduction in the harvest of this year is mainly due to climatic factors, ASAJA also point out that there has been a decline in the acreage of the citrus fruit in recent years due to the low market prices, with lows such as six cents per kilo experienced in 2012; a price which did not even cover the costs of picking and which led many to replace their lemon trees with more profitable crops.
Declines in the estimated production are relatively uniform throughout the autonomous communities, with a reduction of 24.6 per cent in Alicante, Castellon 25.2 per cent and 20.4 per cent in Valencia. Other crops are also experiencing a decline in harvest, for instance, a 23.3 per cent decline in tangerines, 20.3 per cent in oranges and a 14 per cent decline in grapefruit.