Virginio Esteve, the managing director of the entity, explained to Fruit Today euromagazine that “the micro climate of our country, as well as the privileged location next to the rivers Júcar and Magro and the good cultural practices carried out during the production process along with the manipulation of the citric fruit become the main ingredients in producing a fruit of excellent quality, both internally and externally. It is a totally distinguishing factor for our clementines and oranges, which additionally possess intense orange colouring and a perfect balance in content between acidity and sugar, which the end consumer ought to be aware of. And in Copal, we are committed to this important differentiation”.
However, the first part of the citric campaign, until Christmas, has not been very satisfactory due to a problem with the prices.
The low prices of the clementine, which in some way were expected due to the abundant harvest, dragged the orange down. “We have suffered with more than half of the harvest having scandalous prices along with a set of results for the farmers which have been shameful”, José Climent, the commercial manager assures us.
In Navelina, which had a production level in kilos that was less than the previous year, the demand turned out to be weak and it also ended up being adversely affected by the mandarin prices.
The forecasts regarding Navel Lane Late haven’t turned out to be very promising either, due to the fact that at the beginning of February much of the production areas, both in the south as well as in other places of origin (Egypt, Turkey, etc.) shared the opinion that “If the prices are already aggressive, they will become even more so in an environment that is apathetic when it comes to buying.
The saturation of the markets has meant that in this campaign Copal has returned to the North American market, both the United States and Canada, in which it has obtained very positive results. “There were only 300 tonnes, which implies that you not only manage to get a good price over there but you also remove an amount of volume from the European market,” Climent explains.
The cooperative has also worked with Brazil as well as Arab and Asian markets, “although in these destinations we have indeed noticed the competition because all of us seek the same alternatives and the prices end up being the same as in Europe.”
Other incursions in some of the ex-Soviet republics have not ended up being entirely satisfactory as the volumes that are demanded are small and the transit time for the merchandise comes to more than a month.
The entity has a marked exporting character as only 3% of the product remains in the national market. “It is one of the things we still have to sort out, although these economic times are not the most appropriate for entering the Spanish market. However, we made the move into selling through Internet a year ago, as a first step towards reaching the national market”, Esteve reveals.
“In reality, on the commercial front our aim has become to be present in all the possible markets with the objective of minimising risks.”
The kaki has been another of the firm’s commitments because in one decade it has come from nowhere to reaching figures of over 3,000 tonnes. With the new plantations a volume of 5,000 hectares is expected to be reached. “As is happening in most of the cooperatives in the area, stone-seeded fruit is being displaced in favour of the kaki.”