The recovery in the final stretch of the season is due to the shortage of product
The price of melon reaches historical high prices in the final stretch of the season. The national average price was set at 50,73 euros/100 kg in week 35 (from 28th of August to 3rd of September). A record price that has never been reached in recent seasons and is 144.71% higher than the value at origin registered that same week in 2016 (20,73 euros/100 kg).
The latest weekly bulletin on national average prices, published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment (Mapama), shows an increase of 32.52% with regards to week 34 and 38.28% for week 33.
The president of the Melon and Watermelon Association of Castilla-La Mancha, Cristóbal Jiménez, explained that this recovery is due to the shortage of produce on the field during the second fortnight in August. “The first phase of production (with thermal blanket covers) began early in Castilla-La Mancha —around the 10th of July— and with ridiculously low prices because it overlapped with the Murcia season. The second stage of the season, the more traditional part and with more volume, also began and ended earlier, again leading to a shortage of product,” he explained.
According to the figures being handled by the president of the mentioned Association, between 20 and 25% of the production corresponding to the last phase of this season is still to be harvested, and this will end by early October.
“We are happy with the season, it will leave producers with a good feeling,” said Cristóbal Jiménez, who estimates that the melon production this year, which has occupied about 6,300 hectares —1,762 hectares less than last year—, will amount to 280,000 tonnes.
Regarding watermelon, the price of which was similar in week 35 (17,10 euros/100 kg) compared to the same period in 2016 (17,99 euros/100 kg), he indicated that its volume of production should be between the range of 260,000 and 280,000 tonnes. Growers have decided to allocate 2,800 hectares to this fruit, compared to 3,260 hectares that were cultivated in 2016.
The profitability of this last crop —commented Cristóbal Jiménez— has descended since watermelon consumption is very much linked to a hot summer, something that has not happened in France, United Kingdom, Ireland or Portugal, who absorb 40 % of the volume produced.