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Pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima / Cucurbitaceae
Some centuries ago, pumpkins were only cultivated in Central America. From there it was introduced into Europe, where small and great horticulturists set off the cultivation of this vegetable.

As in the case of courgettes, it is difficult to obtain surface and production data of pumpkins by countries, since most of them include pumpkins and courgettes in the same group. Besides, its culture has spread all over the world but most part of its culture is carried out in small parcels, for self-consumption or local markets. The world-wide average production of pumpkins and courgettes in the triennium 1995-1997 according to the FAO’s Yearbook amounted to 13,531,000 annual tons. The area cultivated underwent an increase of 20% during the same period.

The surface intended for the culture of pumpkins in Spain was 1,612 has in 1995, producing 32,210 t. According to data from the MAPA’s Yearbook of Agrarian Statistics in 1995, most of the production of pumpkins in Spain is concentrated in the Comunidad Valenciana and the province of Málaga. In Spain, there are 1,387 ha of pumpkins cultivated for cattle food with a production of 20,251 t intended for this type of consumption.

Imports in Spain are scarce, practically anecdotal. The amount of exports is also small. During the period 1990-1992, from which pumpkins are not distinguished from other vegetables, the production totalled 261 t.

The world-wide production of all types of pumpkins in 1998 amounted to 14,671,000 tons; the total area cultivated was 1,180,000 has.

The world-wide production is distributed by continents in the following way:

ContinentThousand tons
Africa1,315
Asia9,265
Europe2,411
North America253
Oceania254
South America842
Total4,314

Source: FAO Production Yearbook (1998)

As shown in the table, the continent with greater amount of pumpkins production is Asia; North America and Oceania are the continents with less production.

The ten first countries producing all types of squash are shown in the following table:

CountryTons
India3,300,000
China3,071,000
Ukraine1,200,000
Egypt570,000
Iran500,000
Italy460,000
Turkey395,000
Mexico350,000
South Africa330,000F
Spain300,000F(*)

Source: FAO Production Yearbook (1998)
(*) Value estimated by the FAO.

Thus, the leading country in 1998 was India, with 3,300,000 t of production and 345,000 ha of area cultivated. Spain is placed in the tenth position in the ranking of producing countries, amounting to 300,000 t in a surface of 300,000 ha.

In 1999, the world-wide import of pumpkins and other cucurbitaceous vegetables totalled 556,059 t. The UE (European Union) imported in the same year 165,920 t, the USA 207,252 t, Japan imported 153,964 t and the rest of countries totalled 28,923 t.

As guiding data, the following shows the main import countries in 1999:

CountryTons
The United States of America207,252
Japan153,964
France79,018
Germany28,426
United Kingdom21,103
The Netherlands9,392
Switzerland8,809
Kuwait7,592
Belgium-Luxembourg5,584
Austria5,481

Source: Faostat (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

Spain imported in 1999 660 t, which places it below the ten first import countries (it is important to stress that these figures include imports of courgettes) of the world.

Concerning the world-wide exports in 1999, the total was 601,622 t of pumpkins and other cucurbitaceous vegetables (including courgettes). The European Union exported 181,325 t in 1999, Mexico 293,155 t, New Zealand exported 98,067 t of pumpkins and the rest of countries 29,075 t.

The following table shows the main world-wide exporting countries of pumpkins and other cucurbitaceous vegetables:

CountryTons
Mexico293,155
Spain132,404
New Zealand98,067
Italy16,245
Tonga15,300
The Netherlands15,090
France13,961
Morocco6,936
Dominican Republic2,212
Saudi Arabia1,464

Source: Faostat (1999) ( http://www.fao.org )

As it is shown in the table, Spain has more exports than imports, placed in the second position of the world-wide ranking of exporting countries following Mexico, that is the main exporter.

In the case of Spain, the total surface intended for pumpkin production is 5,017 ha and the estimated production in 1999 by communities was as follows:

AreaHectaresTons
Comunidad Valenciana39110,725
Andalucía3407,385
Aragón1102,416
Extremadura1751,910
Castilla-LaMancha1811,871
Canary Islands1301,431
Others2856,462
TOTAL1,61232,210

Source: La Horticultura Española (2001) Sech.

The Valencian Community is the region with a larger production of pumpkins in Spain, followed by Andalucía (Málaga).
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