Catalan farmers will harvest 384,840 tons of peaches and nectarines this year, 4% less than in 2023, as a result of the water stress that fruit trees suffered last summer, with irrigation restrictions and high temperatures. Damage from frost and hail has been scarce in this campaign.

The Catalan harvest, which has already begun in Tarragona, the earliest area, represents 40% of the Spanish harvest. With these figures, production is close to 90% of the productive capacity of Catalonia.

The variety most affected by the drought is the flat peach, which has fallen by 11%, according to the forecasts presented this Monday by the Fruit Business Association of Catalonia (Afrucat) and the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda.

In Lleida, the province that accounts for 95% of Catalonia’s peaches and nectarines, farmers will collect 362,360 tons, 4% less than last year. Tarragona 3% less (20,080 tons), Barcelona 13% less (1,480 tons) and Girona 9% less (920 tons).

In Girona, the decrease is mainly due to the uprooting of peach trees to increase their area of ​​apple trees

“After many years in which meteorological phenomena such as hailstorms, frosts or last year’s drought have occurred, we are in a normal year, with practically our productive potential and without lack of water,” he stated, in the presentation of harvest forecasts, Joan Gòdia, general director of Agri-Food Companies, Quality and Gastronomy of the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda.

Manel Simon, general director of Afrucat, has pointed out that this year, unlike last, the calibers are good and on the other hand, the advance of the harvest in Murcia and the slight delay in Catalonia will prevent the harvests from overlapping.

In 2023, the drought meant that the sizes of peaches and nectarines were small until well into July, which made the commercial campaign difficult, a complication that was added to the overlap of the Murcian and Catalan campaigns.

“The factors at the beginning of the campaign make us predict that it will be correct and, if we are orderly in entering the market, we hope to be able to govern our production well,” Simon assured.

The director of Afrucat has pointed out the uncertainty of producers due to the impact that pests may have on production: “last year there was a significant impact of thrips and fruit flies which meant that, although prices were acceptable, the “The yield of many plantations fell, with the serious impact that this entails on farmers’ farm accounts.”

The figures presented this Monday are closed on Friday of last week. On Sunday, a hail storm caused damage to 140 hectares of Corbins and Torrelameu (Lleida), affecting between 30 and 50% of production.

Manel Simon has taken advantage of the presentation of the forecasts to make a request to the European Union, a few days before the start of the campaign. “Now that the European elections are approaching, we want to highlight our request to Brussels, and specifically to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), so that every time they decide to eliminate new fighting methods, impact studies are carried out to analyze whether there are Alternative treatment or suspension may represent the elimination of one or more crops throughout Europe,” he stated.