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Thread: Can you (try to) help my friend?

  1. #1
    arran_in_spain is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Lightbulb Can you (try to) help my friend?

    Hi everyone! I'm new here... hope someone can help

    Looking for some advice / thoughts on how to help my friend who owns a small family orange orchard near Valencia.

    Obviously with the virus, everything and everyone is finding life a bit tough - but even on a good year, he barely breaks even, and I'm really worried this year he's going to struggle.

    I'm trying to come up with some ideas on how to help him, but I'm lost. We thought about trying to send oranges directly to people in the UK, but the logistics and costs don't make much sense.

    Does anyone have any ideas? He normally has to sell everything he grows to a big corporation that give him such an awful price.. but he has no other choice.

    All thoughts and comments welcome

    Thanks in advance! Arran

    (for background: I moved to Spain just over a year ago, and he's a good friend who owns this orchard - it's nothing fancy, just a small family orchard shared between him and his brother - they don't make any profit, barely break-even to be honest, and on a good year just have to put any extra back into maintenance - and it sounds like it's the same for pretty much all of the small family orchards and farms here...)

  2. #2
    Norfolkgrey's Avatar
    Norfolkgrey is offline Mature Fruiter
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    it's that village you drive through


    can they not process it into something? yes there is an initial cost and maintenance (research would also be good) thinking of farmers markets, it is not the fruit and veg sellers that do well it is the micro breweries and the preserve makers etc. etc..

  3. #3
    Snoop Puss's Avatar
    Snoop Puss is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Jun 2009
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    Hello and welcome.

    The first question is where is your friend from. If they're a local, they've probably taken all the steps they can locally, like sell all their produce to the local co-op or join an association doing sales online with delivery direct to consumers in Spain.

    If your friend is not a local, they will need to get plugged in to the local orange growers' scene.

    It isn't easy for someone with a small plot to earn a living from it, most people do other things as well. Small plots mean it's not viable to start up a juicing plant, jam factory or whatever. Such investments are only worth it if your friend can get together with others like them and can make contact with distribution channels. Not easy in Spain.

    Exporting oranges is, like you say, not really a go-er of an idea unless your friend has a huge supply that continues over the season and can make contact with buyers of supermarket chains, etc. By the sound of it, with a small plot your friend isn't up to that.

    Best of luck, in any event and well done you for trying to help.
    Note to self: Getting too old not to have a life.

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