Since the European stone fruit harvest forecasts were announced, adverse weather conditions have been reported in various producing areas. There have been storms accompanied by hail in Italy, Spain and southern France, and volumes continue to fall.
In Spain, the storm persists in the Levante area, with heavy rains and even some hail storms that are taking a toll on the stone fruit harvest with the campaign in full swing, especially in the Region of Murcia.
"The heavy rains, with about 90 liters per square meter in two hours between the producing areas of Molina de Segura and Archena, have mainly affected the apricot fields were the harvest was in full swing. The excess water has caused the cracking of the fruit," says Joaquín Gómez, president of Apoexpa.
The apricot production had already suffered a decline of between 30 and 40% in the Region of Murcia, one of the main producing areas of this fruit in Spain. In the absence of official figures, the prospect is that the crop's reduction will be accentuated. As reported by the Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of the Region of Murcia (Fecoam), the heavy rains have caused damages to apricot crops worth between 15 and 20 million Euro.
The impact of hail on stone fruit trees has also been reported in the producing areas of Campotejar, Fenazar, Molina and Jumilla.
"Volumes will tend to fall further with these weather conditions, at a time when the demand is still higher than the supply," said Joaquin Gomez. The fruit has a very good flavor and high sugar levels, which, together with the arrival of good weather in central Europe, is favoring its consumption."
According to Joaquín Gómez, "nectarines and flat peaches are reaching very good prices, while peaches, although equally in demand, are not as valued. With apricots, however, it will be more difficult to make a profit given the low supply."
The Murcian campaign is moving forward with a delay of about a week in the harvest. The supply is not expected to increase until the first half of June, when fruit from other producing areas will start to enter the market.
For more information: www.apoexpa.es