September means apples in many parts of the world which was reflected in many headlines this month.
In Washington, as its apple season got underway, growers were contending with record high temperatures seen this summer. Signs of sunburn and bitter pit were reported to be bringing down Washington apple production
On the other side of the country, the 2021 season for Michigan apples began slightly earlier than it historically has. And New York state geared up for the harvest of its SnapDragon and RubyFrost apple varieties and it too saw an earlier start this season. And in Canada, Nova Scotia growers reported seeing increased volumes this season.
In India, New Zealand apples were growing in popularity with Indian consumers. “This was the first time we had six varieties of apples from New Zealand at the same time,” noted one shipper. And in Africa, import duties and freight push up the cost of trading fruit in Africa. “A box of apples you put down in Nigeria is one of the most expensive boxes of apples in the world,” said a shipper.
Poland’s apple season also kicked off with its first Gala shipments, though growers and shippers were contending with increased costs (particularly on wooden boxes). Meanwhile Swedish organic farmers struggled to sell their apples.
In bananas, pressures in the banana industry drew increasing focus. Latin American banana growing countries made a statement regarding cost increases. This statement came from the banana producers and exporters of Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, representing 60 percent of the global banana production. Increasing costs were also pressuring organic banana growers and shippers.
Shipping woes also continued in September. The hottest items globally? Shipping containers. On the U.S. West Coast, it was reported that there were 49 cargo vessels outside Long Beach/Los Angeles port complex. In fact, in September, both ports announced new measures to speed cargo throughput.
In climate headlines, a significant storm in Spain destroyed agricultural infrastructure and citrus and vegetable crops in the north of Castellon. And lava from volcanic eruption in La Palma caused great damage to the banana industry.
Grapes proved to be a popular September topic as well. “Trends in the snacking category influence our table grape breeding process,” said Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG.
Chilean growers predicted better yields likely despite challenges in its upcoming grape season. And for the first time in history, Peru expected to surpass the sixty million (60mm) boxes of table grapes for worldwide export. Meanwhile Jupiter Group said it had Greek grapes slightly earlier than Peru with a shorter lead time to market.
In other commodities news, logistics affected consistent movement of imported kiwis from Chile and New Zealand into the U.S. And on the West Coast, Oregon prepared for organic kiwi berries to come on in October.
Back to New Zealand, Orangewood Limited and wholly owned subsidiary of Seeka Limited proposed amalgamation. Italy saw decreasing kiwifruit volumes. In China, while high-yield and high-quality kiwifruit were being produced, growers were concerned that the shortage of transportation capacity hindered export. And in South Africa, the kiwi industry got organized ahead of the growth predicted over the next five to 10 years.
And in blueberries, the season's first shipping container of OZblu blueberries, produced in Peru, arrived in China on the 26th of August. Rooted Global Fruit’s first blueberries, initially from Zimbabwe and then moving over to South African blueberries, were flown to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. This marked the debut of the company based in Hong Kong, and in South Africa’s Hex River Valley. And Hortifrut Peru announced it would launch three new blueberry varieties in 2022 while the first Peruvian blueberries arrived to a good European market.