Overview of the peach industry in the European Union, with special reference to Spain

I. Iglesias, G. Echeverría
This is a general overview of the peach industry in Spain and in the main producing countries within the European Union (EU). In Spain, peach is currently the most important fruit species in terms of production and exports. In 2016, for the first time, Spain was the largest EU peach producer with 1.34 million t and has been the leading exporting country since 2005, with exports reaching 858,500 t in 2015. The main producing regions are Aragón, Catalonia and Murcia, with a total surface of 81,700 ha; all of these areas are characterized by their warm, dry climates. The Spanish fruit industry has experienced a significant change regarding the development of new cultivars and rootstocks, training systems, integrated production and the implementation of certification systems. However, despite intense innovation in terms of new cultivar development: more than 140 new cultivars have been introduced in the past 10 years, peach consumption in Spain remains low and has even declined in favor of other fresh fruits. The development of new full-colour and sweet-tasting nectarines, such as 'Big Top®', and flat peaches has been a particular trait of the Spanish industry. In 2017, the production of flat peaches reached 314,247 t from 15,860 ha. The calcareous nature of the soils in the main producing areas had previously limited the use of rootstocks sensitive to iron chlorosis. For this reason, the main cultivars grown are INRA®GF-677, which offers broad adaptability and is still the most common cultivar, followed by Garnem (GxN15) and Cadaman. New rootstocks with less tree vigour, better fruit size and greater yield efficiency are currently at the testing and development phase. With regard to training systems, the Catalan Vase is still the most common, but intensive plantings using axial systems have emerged with the aim of providing early yields and better adaptation to mechanization. In recent years, the cost of production has increased faster than the net prices received by growers. In 2016, these ranged from 0.28 to 0.45 € kg‑1, depending on the cultivar, harvest time and yield.
Iglesias, I. and Echeverría, G. (2021). Overview of the peach industry in the European Union, with special reference to Spain. Acta Hortic. 1304, 163-176
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1304.24
peach, European Union, Spain, production, exports, consumption, quality, cultivars, rootstocks, training systems, costs

Acta Horticulturae