EU: Lettuce shortage to continue for another 30 days

Although it might seem that the high prices in the lettuce market are due to speculative reasons, the fact is that the current situation is of shortage. There is hardly any lettuce and prices are high; something which the sector expects will last for at least another 30 days.

"European supermarkets have insufficient supply, when it is usual for the lettuce campaign in Central European countries to continue with enough volumes until mid to late October," explains a Murcian lettuce exporter.

The weather is still unstable in central and northern Europe. The heavy rains of the last two weeks have not allowed the plants to grow.

In Italy, the dry and hot weather has caused the proliferation of thrips after watering; consequently, the harvest is about 30% of what would be normal at this time and growers are forced to ship produce with half the usual calibre; volumes that do not even cover the demand.

"We scheduled our production without taking into account what could happen in the rest of Europe and now it is impossible to react. The scheduling is done about 160 days before the harvest," continues the exporter.

Furthermore, Spain has suffered extremely high temperatures in the main lettuce producing areas and recent heavy rains have also affected the development of other leafy vegetables.

"We expect prices to remain high until mid-October, but unfortunately, if we have no production to meet the orders, that is of little use to us," he points out.

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