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Almonds: heated debates in Spain

July 8, 2024 at 1:03 PM , Der AUDITOR
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MADRID. Spain reports strong exports. A new aflatoxin alert has fuelled heated debates about cheap US imports for almonds. This week will prove decisive for US almonds.

Strong April exports

Spain’s monthly almond exports surged to 11,448 mt in April. Exports ranged 36% lower at 8,419 mt in April last year. Total exports have climbed by 3% to 109,152 mt for August 2023 to April 2024 as compared with the same period last year. While shipments to Spain’s leading export destination France have gained by 2%, exports to Germany and Italy are down. Portugal is showing a 27% hike and the Netherlands a 25% upsurge in shipments.

Almond exports, Spain (mt)

Destination

2022/23

2023/24

Diff

France

24,820

25,329

2.0%

Germany

22,309

20,849

-6.6%

Italy

18,533

18,006

-2.9%

Portugal

3,741

4,772

27.5%

UK

4,171

3,799

-9.0%

Netherlands

2,953

3,693

25.0%

Poland

3,608

3,495

-4.0%

Belgium

3,326

3,040

-8.6%

Switzerland

1,935

1,938

0.1%

Turkey

2,335

2,034

-12.9%

Others

18,037

22,197

23.1%

Total

105,768

109,152

3.2%

Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Spain, 01/08-30/04

New aflatoxin alert for cheap US import

A new aflatoxin alert issued by the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) concerning almonds imported from the USA to Spain has stirred up the heated debate over cheap almond imports from the US as local media report. RASFF issued a serious alert after detaining an almond shipment from the US on 1 July. This is the fourth incident within the past three months. Three alerts were issued in April for almonds imported from the US after it was found that aflatoxin levels exceeded the permitted limits.

This new alert prompted the Spanish Association of Organic and Conventional Almond Producers (AEPAEC) to urge the entire population to exclusively consume almonds of local origin. The association highlights that although Spain’s production is much smaller than in California, the almonds produced in Spain are barely treated with phytosanitary products. Contrary to this, high output requires much water in California and is treated with chemicals that are prohibited in Spain. Local producers are also struggling to compete with the cheap imports from the US, on which Spain’s nougat manufacturers mainly rely on. Strong criticism was voiced last year after the manufactures refused to pay producers prices that cover their costs.

Prices on the rise

Market prices have been on the rise in Spain since the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Congress took place in Vancouver at the start of May. Issue is that global demand is strong, supply inventories are low and pipelines empty. All eyes are set on the 10 July when the USDA will issue the objective crop estimate for California. INC estimates currently stand at 1.3 million mt (2.9 billion lbs) for the US and at 130,000 mt for Spain. On Thursday, the Almond Board of California will also issue the new shipment report for June.

 

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price chart, almonds. Mamra, Iran
price chart, almonds, natural 13/14, Largueta
price chart, almonds, blanched, 27/30, California SSR
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