Spanish Farmers Go Nuts For Almonds As Global Demand Booms

Spanish farmers go nuts for almonds as global demand booms

Santa Cruz, Spain, Sept 16 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 16th Sep, 2018 ) :Surging worldwide demand for almonds is pushing Spanish farmers to replace traditional wheat and sunflower fields with almond orchards, transforming the landscape in the south of the country.

Almonds, thanks to their well-advertised health benefits, are enjoying global demand as snacks or in derivative forms like almond milk and almond flour, used as dairy or wheat alternatives.

In the Guadalquivir valley in the parched southern region of Andalusia "the landscape has changed so much in recent years that wild boar now come down from the hills to eat almonds", said agronomist Curro Lopez, 50, an expert on almond farming with Spanish agriculture machinery firm Agrosan.

During the harvest, which in Santa Cruz near Cordoba began at the end of August, large nets are laid on the ground to collect almonds which are then shaken off the wispy branches of the trees by a machine in just a few seconds.

Spain is on track to harvest over 61,000 tonnes of almonds during the 2018-19 season, a record amount and a 15-percent rise over the previous season, according to estimates from a national producers' association.

Spain is the world's third biggest almond producer behind Australia, and the United States which is the world's top producer by a huge margin.

California alone accounts for 80 percent of the world's supply of almonds, according to its powerful almond board, which tirelessly promotes the benefits of the nut as a source of protein and healthy fats.

Spain, which uses almonds in many traditional desserts such as nougats, continues to import huge quantities of almonds from California despite being a major producer of the nut itself.

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