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Portugal is already self-sufficient in dried fruit production

Portugal is already self-sufficient in the production of dried fruits for national consumption and has even begun to export to other markets, revealed the president of Portugal Nuts - Association for the Promotion of Dried Fruits.

"In almonds we were already self-sufficient and in other crops we were still doing that path, namely in walnut, but at the moment we are already self-sufficient and even surplus, that is, we are already exporting," Tiago Costa, president of Portugal Nuts, told Lusa agency.

According to the leader of this association, which represents 50 producers and processors from all over the country, the increase in the production of nuts in Portugal, "namely in the Alentejo area, is due to the availability of water and good soil and climate conditions".

"We have soil and climate conditions, we have water availability and we are talking about permanent crops with high added value," added Tiago Costa, noting that production "has been increasing in all regions [of the country], especially in almonds".

Despite this increase in production, the dried fruit sector has also been affected "very intensely" by the considerable growth in costs related to production factors, namely the price of energy, water or fertilizers, said the president of Portugal Nuts.

"There was a general increase in all factors of production, which generates a great pressure on costs, which increased by about 30 to 40%," Tiago Costa explained to Lusa.

In contrast, he continued, "the increase in production costs has not been reflected in any way in the increase in selling prices and the crop, from this point of view, is suffering a lot".

According to Tiago Costa, the price of fruit "is increasingly determined on the world market".

"In the case of almonds, there was a lot of 'stock', namely in the United States [USA] and, therefore, prices remained stable, but falling. In the case of walnuts, it was exactly the same thing, because the 'stock' was very high and when consumption suffered some reduction, the law of supply and demand caused the walnut to fall in price ", he concluded.

A Portugal Nuts promoted, Tuesday, its second national congress, in Beja, which was presented the study "Water needs of dried fruit crops in the main production areas", developed in partnership with the Real Academia de Ingeneria de Madrid (Spain).

The study revealed that dried fruit producers in Portugal manage water "efficiently", spending "30 to 40% less" than their counterparts in the USA.

Source: Diário de Notícias, 9th May 2023


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