W38: Almond Update

In W38 in the almond landscape, the Spanish almond market has experienced fluctuations, primarily marked by price declines. Competition from American almonds, especially older and lower-quality ones, has maintained pressure on prices. In regions such as Córdoba and Mercamurcia, almonds have been priced between USD 2.65 to 5.66 per kilogram (EUR 2.50 to 5.35/kg), with variations in different almond varieties. Albacete noted slight increases in organic almonds, while Tortosa and Reus experienced a mix of price decreases and repetitions.

The Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA) in Spain has raised concerns about an alleged concerted effort by industries, importers, and cooperatives to replace rainfed almond farming, mainly conducted by family farmers, with intensive irrigated cultivation from large landowners and massive imports from California, United States (US). Spain is a major producer and importer of almonds, but dryland almond farmers, who constitute 80% of the sector, are struggling due to low production levels, which account for only around 30% of an average campaign. UPA attributes this issue to a plan by industrialists, importers, and some cooperatives to shift from rainfed to irrigated almond production, with the area of irrigated almond trees growing significantly over the past decade. UPA claims that certain Spanish industrialists import Californian almonds, process them in Spain, and then re-export them as Spanish almonds to other European countries. The organization calls for measures to protect and promote Spanish almonds, including stricter control of US imports and potential tariff imposition, enforcement of the Food Chain Law, quality marking for Spanish almonds, agricultural insurance reforms, and market transparency and oversight.

Furthermore, Valencian agriculture continues to face challenges as recurring storms, including torrential rains, wind, and hail, disrupt the harvest season and cause substantial crop damage. The Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) of Spain estimates that the latest storm, known as a DANA, has affected 5 thousand hectares (ha) of agricultural land, resulting in direct and indirect losses of USD 8.47 million (EUR 8 million). The western part of the Utiel-Requena region, particularly areas like Fuenterrobles, Villargordo del Cabriel, and Utiel, has been hit the hardest, with around 3 thousand ha of almond, vineyards, and olive groves experiencing an average 30% reduction in the harvest. The continuous storms compound the damage caused by earlier hailstorms and lack of precipitation in the region.

Lastly, in Kazakhstan, the prices of various nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts, have witnessed a 3.9% increase in the past year from Aug-22 to Aug-23, as reported by the Bureau of National Statistics. 

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