Citrus and Pomegranate Cultivation: Concurrence versus Competition in Eastern Spain
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Citrus trees, traditionally associated with Spanish Mediterranean agriculture, are particularly sensitive to water allocation fluctuations. In this area structural water resource deficits, as well as the gradual decline in citrus prices received by farmers, have promoted the co-plantation of other crops that are more resistant to water shortages, such as pomegranates, which have been grown in eastern Spain for decades. At present, demand for pomegranates is growing due to their associated nutritional benefits and functional food qualities. In this paper, we have analyzed technical-economic aspects of citrus and pomegranate cultivation in light of their increasing competition. The comparison of these two crops begins with an assessment, from a farm economy perspective, of the main results published in the scientific literature on Regulated Deficit Irrigation, which is one of the techniques used to address water shortage problems. Also, we have analyzed the trend in prices received by farmers for the orange 'Lane late', the mandarin 'Clemenules' and for the two main Spanish varieties of pomegranate, 'Valenciana' and 'Mollar'. The economic outlook for these two crops (citrus and pomegranate) is rounded off by an investment analysis, which describes the profitability of individual farms.