Soller oranges will next year be given a PGI (protected geographical indication) registration. This will be the culmination of a campaign led by the Sant Bartomeu Cooperative, which began in 2016.
This was initially only concerned with the Canoneta variety, which would have proved to be an obstacle. Miquel Gual, the president of the cooperative, says all varieties grown in the Soller Valley, such as Navelina and Valencia, will be included in the PGI registration. If the PGI had been limited to the Canoneta, "we would have had difficulties in meeting demand for Soller oranges".
With the awarding of the PGI mark, Gual adds that "a very important step" will be taken in differentiating Soller (and Fornalutx) oranges from the rest of the market.
The process for obtaining the PGI coincided with a renewal programme for orange groves. A replanting agreement between the cooperative and the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Institutions has led to many groves being renewed.
Further impetus was provided when it became evident that oranges were being marketed as Soller when they were not. In parallel with the PGI process has been one to obtain a PDO protected designation of origin. The main exporter of oranges, Fet a Soller, is behind the PDO project.