This has been the most ruinous apple campaign in Lleida in the last 40 years. Production costs have skyrocketed in the last year while the price of the fruit continues to fall. Prices have fallen so much that if they don't improve Lleida's sector could lose 18 million euro this year. According to the head of Asaja in Lleida, Pere Roque, producing one kilo of apples costs producers about 40 cents or 40% more because of the increase in the cost of raw materials and energy, among other things. As a result, in most cases, producers are losing up to 15 cents per kilo of fruit.
According to Roque, this wouldn't happen if the Food Chain Law were correctly enforced, as this law prohibits sales at a loss. However, he said, sanctions are not being imposed and even the labeling in supermarkets is not being controlled. He also criticized the fact that the different government administrations are not acting nor offering direct aid to farmers, as they claim.
Another issue is that the country is importing fruit from other countries, such as Italy, France, or Poland, while the local fruit is being stored in chambers or paid at very low prices, he added. According to Joan Serentill, the chairman of Afrucat's pome fruit committee, the problem is that these countries are gaining an advantage: “We have a high-quality product but we have to learn to sell it better.” Consumers increasingly appreciate zero-kilometer food and we must exploit this to position the local product at the level it deserves, Serentill added.
It's necessary to translate the increase in costs onto the sale price so that producers don't have losses and to prevent putting the sector's future at risk, he stated.