In order to analyse the current situation of the citrus sector and to present the best techniques and available technologies that could improve the profitability of citrus farms, Eumedia, publisher of the magazine Vida Rural, organised the 1st Plan STAR Cítricos in Hotel Barceló, in Valencia.

The conference, which has been sponsored by ENESA, Massey Ferguson, Nufarm and Sapec Agro and has counted with the collaboration of Cooperativas Agroalimentarias of Valencia, Decco and the PGI Cítricos Valencianos, has brought more than 170 professionals together.

The Plan STAR Cítricos has been opened by the General Director of Rural Development and Common Agricultural Policy of the Council of Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change and Rural Development of the Government of Valencia, Maria Teresa Cháfer Nácher, who stressed that producers and the Administration must “join forces in the differentiation of the production,” stressing the importance of research, the study of biotechnology tools and the development of new patterns related to climate change tolerance and resistance to viral diseases. In this regard, she explained that the Valencian Council of Agriculture is taking action to support the citrus sector. “The market must be familiar with our products so we can dignify the work of our producers,” she highlighted.

Immaculada Sanfeliú, technician at the Citrus Management Committee, opened the turn of technical papers conducting an analysis of the situation of the citrus industry in Spain and its future prospects. “Spain is the leading exporter of citrus worldwide, especially in the case of oranges, lemons and mandarins,” with annual revenues totalling 2,250 million Euro; however, Sanfeliú also wanted to draw attention to the reduction of the acreage. “For five years, we have been losing about 5,000 hectares of citrus per year, mostly for their conversion to other crops, such as kakis or pomegranates.” And while Spain continues to produce citrus and export it to more than ninety countries, the technician affirms that “we need to open new markets,” and to achieve this, “we must continue improving our varietal structure and diversifying the sector.”