In Alicante, the oranges for the new 2022/23 season have already been harvested. “Our warehousing activity focuses almost 90% on oranges because we generally work directly in the fields with lemons and mandarins. Especially when working with leafy fruits”, explains Héctor Mallol, sales manager of Naturnar.
“The citrus fruits with leaves do not undergo any post-harvest treatment: they are harvested and packed in the field and we send them to our customers without going through the warehouse. In addition to the production of lemons and leafy mandarins, we also market leafy oranges, of which we load several volumes per week for the traditional markets of the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Italy. Although our citrus fruits also travel outside of Europe. »
“In destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada, our main brands, NATURNAR and AURORA, already have a significant presence. »
Krystel Guerrero Roca, manager and owner of Naturnar, and Héctor Mallol.
Last year, Naturnar marketed a total of 12 million kilos of oranges – in addition to 3 million kilos of mandarins and 4 million kilos of lemons – and this year it expects the volume to increase to 25 million. pounds in total. “In February, we modified our facilities by acquiring new machinery and recently received IFS certification as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to further international expansion. »
“This year, Fruit Attraction was also a turning point for us. Existing business ties have been strengthened and we will develop other new projects,” says Naturnar’s sales manager.
“The question is whether the markets will accept the price at which we have to sell the fruit this year”
The expected season for Spanish oranges begins at a time when there is strong demand in Europe for large-sized oranges, explains Héctor, because what was left on the markets after imports from South Africa and other countries in ‘overseas was smaller-sized fruit. “At the moment we see that there is still no demand for the small sizes, but for the larger oranges adequate prices are paid because all the fruit arrives with excellent quality. »
“For the last two weeks we can say that the prices paid are correct, and due to the natural tendency of the market, last week there was greater pressure to lower prices. But we must understand that this year must be different; at no time can we sell fruit at last year’s prices,” he notes.
“Electricity has doubled for everyone, boxes, gas… All production costs have increased. »
“In the region, there are several companies that have gone bankrupt from last year to this year because the main handicap that we have in the citrus sector is that there have been losses for years. This is something that should never happen and even less when there is a law prohibiting sales below production costs. »
“From my point of view, I think the demand for oranges will continue as usual. The markets need to understand the price at which we have to sell the fruit,” stresses Héctor Mallol. “In this sense, there should be some sort of regulatory body to which all companies in the Valencian region adhere, which would establish minimum production costs and be governed by them so that no one can sell below this value. But this would require the commitment and unity of the whole sector. »
“Import regulations must also be a key issue. Fruit from other origins cannot be introduced without any control. Spanish producers are subject to certain requirements that are not required of anyone else, not only at national level, but also at European level. »
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03300 Orihuela, Alicante (Spain)
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“Markets must be aware of the price at which we, the producers, must sell our fruits”
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