Thieves eye Almeria province watermelons as prices practically double this year

WATERMELONS: Prices have almost doubled this year Photo credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

SUPERMARKETS charge between €6.5 and €8 for a five-kilo, Almeria-grown watermelon at present.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, watermelons costs 90 per cent more than in 2021, a price hike that also leaves them open to theft.

Almeria’s Levante area where watermelons are grown in the open air, is particularly affected.

“Two days ago a Palomares security guard caught someone with 1,000 kilos hidden in a van,” grower Pascual Soler told the provincial Spanish media.

“It’s different from before, when they would take a few pieces,” Soler said. “Now they come with big vehicles and strip fields bare.  They take up to two tons at a time.”

Despite tighter security, robberies are occurring more often as prices rise, Soler added: “Because of the increase in robberies, a lot of growers and their employees patrol in their own vehicles, despite having 24-hour security.”

The stolen watermelons are later sold at open-air “mercadillo” markets or from makeshift roadside stalls.

Soler also revealed that growers were reluctant to report thefts.

“All we achieve is a wait of two or three hours at Guardia Civil headquarters, as there are so few officers,” he said.

“Later you go to court and afterwards they fine the thief €10.  In short, if we lodge a complaint all we get is a great deal of bother and no result.”

 

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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