Orange Heists Unleashed: Valencia’s Groves Plundered as Prices Skyrocket!

A specialised police unit dedicated to combating thefts in Valencian orange orchards could soon become a reality, as citrus heists in the province escalate from a potential threat to an unfortunate reality

In a twist of intrigue, the Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-ASAJA) sounded the alarm on a clandestine wave of orange and mandarine heists sweeping through the sun-kissed groves of the Valencian Community. 

Oranges and mandarins, once nature’s gems, are vanishing in a citrus caper fueled by a nationwide production shortfall – the second shortest harvest in a decade – and a surge in prices, particularly within the lucrative juice industry, creating a juicy temptation for orchard thieves.

In the idyllic town of Villanueva de Castellón, an AVA delegate, initially struck by the seasonal thefts despite fortified fencing, unveiled to a press dramatic info about a rising tide of citrus thefts. This prompted a drastic response, leading him to initiate a clandestine surveillance operation across his orange kingdom, a desperate bid to stave off future raids.

Meanwhile, in the citrus-rich La Ribera Alta region, associate Juan Bautista Salom from Carcaixent seeks justice with the Civil Guard, as a staggering 40,000 kilos of Navelina and Salustiana oranges disappeared under mysterious circumstances. 

Faced with an unprecedented citrus larceny, Salom revealed suspicions about the alleged thief, the clandestine “peeler” through which the loot is supposedly funneled, and the elusive price tag – around 5.5 euros for a 20-kilo box. 

Three entire orange orchards vanished into the hands of an audacious thief, leaving Salom grappling with the fallout in a season marked by scant yields, escalating production costs, and soaring orange and mandarine prices.

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Even Salvador Juan, spearheading the AVA-ASAJA mandarine sector, found himself entangled in this citrus underworld, falling prey to thefts in his fields in La Safor. The agricultural organisation issued a resounding call to the Government Delegation, urging heightened vigilance not only on orchards but also in reception centres suspected of harbouring stolen orange treasures. 

It is expected from the security forces to play detective, scrutinising the traceability of the  produce and verifying whether the delivered quantity aligns with the potential productivity of the victimised groves.

The province of Valencia stands as a global citrus giant, boasting extensive cultivation. Historically, orange theft remained an uncommon issue, attributed to the paltry prices offered to farmers, rendering theft both cost-prohibitive and perilous. 

However, with the recent surge in prices, a disconcerting trend of theft is emerging. This echoes a pattern observed among avocado farmers who, once victims of heists, now find themselves joined by their counterparts in the citrus orchards.

This article is brought to you by Expat Hub Valencia, a property buying agent  in Valencia. Using the Expat Hub’s services, you will be able to successfully navigate Valencia’s complicated property market in no time.

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