José Oliveira, president of AlgarOrange, which brings together nine companies and associations of citrus growers from all over the Algarve, told Lusa that this is one of the sectors that “has suffered least from the pandemic” and that the summer varieties of orange are being sold “at practically twice” the price of the previous year.
“At this moment, in this last phase of the summer varieties, with the phenomenon of Covid-19 the demand increased and - as production was lower this year - this was reflected in the prices, which went up,” he said, adding “in the order of 70 cents per kilogramme” is the amount that producers are receiving per kilogramme of orange.
The same source underlined, however, that “there is still no perception of how the market can evolve in the near future”, because “there are variables that can influence” the prices paid to citrus growers.
If, on the one hand, “there is little production”, the economic effects “on people and consumers will certainly also be reflected”, which may influence demand and revise downward prices.
“But so far, the summer campaign has been good for the sector,” said José Oliveira, adding that the approximately 70 cents per kilogramme currently paid doubles “the 30 and 35 cents that were paid last year”.
For this reason, it foresees “that there will be no difficulty in transporting the fruit and that the price can be maintained” until it finishes selling the entire production of AlgarOrange, which exceeds a total of 100,000 tonnes per year, 25 percent of which are destined for export, allowing to give direct work to 500 employees.
The regional director for Agriculture and Fisheries in the Algarve, Pedro Monteiro, also told Lusa that “the reality of the pandemic helped” the Algarve’s citrus industry, but more so the big producers, because the small ones “sell essentially to the Horeca channel [acronym for hospitality, restaurants and cafes] and in street markets”, which “were closed” during the pandemic, creating “difficulties” in selling their produce.
In order to avoid more severe problems in the future, the authorities encourage “the emergence of new outlets” and “called for proximity consumption, short chains and direct contact between producers and consumers”, but this solution “does not solve all the problems”, he considered.