MELON and watermelon growers told the Spanish media that they are “desperate.”
The prices they are paid, between 5 and 15 cents a kilo, are even lower than last year, they said, added to which large-scale robberies are stripping the fields of around 30 per cent of the crop.
Sources at an agricultural cooperative in Puzol (Valencia) said they are so disappointed by this year’s showing that some growers are debating whether to bother planting the typical and traditional summer crop next year.
“We are defenceless,” the cooperative’s president Mariano Aguilar said.
“Those who pay us, pay what they want, which is less each year. And those who rob us, get away with it.”
Growers are used to losing the odd melon or so to passers-by, they said, but organised gangs know when to take the ripest fruit growing near the roads at times when there are few people around.