The Melon and Watermelon Inter-branch organization of Castilla-La Mancha estimates that melon producers in the community, mainly in the province of Ciudad Real, have started their planting activities with thermal blankets in an area that is 10% lower than in previous seasons.
This, according to Cristobal Jimenez, the president of the organization, who said they expected the area devoted to melon production would be 5% smaller and the area devoted to watermelon would be 30% lower than in the previous campaign due to the disastrous results of last year.
The actual area won't be known until the beginning of June, once the procedures of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have been closed. However, according to these forecasts, less than 5,600 hectares would be devoted to producing melons and less than 3,100 hectares to producing watermelons.
The fruits produced in Almeria's greenhouses are already in the market and there are 30 to 40% fewer kilos than on an average campaign. However, the Manchego producers have their eyes on Murcia, where the spring storms damaged all the thermal blanket cultivation, which will influence the output of the product in the markets, as it would overlap with the melon from Manchego. In this case, both offers would be added, which could increase the supply and make it difficult to maintain prices.
Jimenez reiterated the need for compliance with the Food Chain Law, when covering production costs, and asked the Administration to meet with producers so they can be informed of how they're being paid prices below costs.