One of Mallorca's most enchanting sights is that of the almond blossom. But it has been threatened for years because of a decrease in the number of trees. Foreign competition, especially that from California, and the Common Agricultural Policy have both been factors. In addition, and more recently, there has been the xylella pest. Over the past ten years, half of what had already become a dwindling crop has disappeared.
In 2015, there were 24,000 hectares of almond trees in the Balearics. By 2020, there were 12,473. Faced with this situation, the Balearic government has launched a restructuring plan, which is designed to increase the area devoted to almond and carob trees and to production. The director general of agriculture, Fernando Fernández, says that production has fallen 37% over the past five years.
He adds that the plan will seek to make production more profitable and efficient. Current levels of production are barely viable and the industry itself is inefficient. Therefore, 9.6 million euros of EU Next Generation funds are to be used over the next seven years in increasing total production by 25%. Each year, there will be an additional 75 hectares for irrigated fields and 170 for trees that are rainfed. For carob trees, which haven't suffered the same level of decline, there will be an additional 70 hectares each year.
Fernández explains that at present there is a dependence on the Valencia wholesale market, and so the plan envisages creating one in the Balearics. Despite the decline in production, he notes that the Balearics have 28% of Spain's almond and carob market share.