Pepper producers expect smaller harvests than in previous years, the quality of processing strawberries is decreasing, and blueberry season will start in two weeks.
Difficult season for pepper producers
The harvest of green peppers began at the beginning of June. The first batches of Polish red pepper are also appearing on the market. Polish pepper producers expect smaller harvests than in previous years. They estimate that there will be ca. 30% less vegetables on the market. High humidity, which persists for the second week, additionally causes very strong intensification of fungal diseases in tunnels.
Pepper producers noted that even 80% of farms might be affected by heavy rain. There is a lot of flooding. After a heavy rainfall, water approached the plastic tunnels and poured inside. Situations worsened with rainfall from mid-last week. Soil cultivation of other vegetables - peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkin also suffered very much.
In spring, there was a fear of a coronavirus pandemic and fear about food deliveries for everyone, but after a good, fertile season there were enough vegetables in storages. This year, the summer can be extremely rainy, which means the quality of peppers will be poor and result in high prices. There will be no overproduction of vegetables. Next year, vegetable prices may reach high values in the Spring.
Poland is the second biggest producer of pepper in Europe (after Spain). 90% of the production is located in Mazowieckie region.
Problems with strawberries for processing purposes
June is marked with heavy rainfall and even hail. Rainy weather this season is not favorable for strawberry producers. Fruit quality is getting worse, so some smaller processor companies stop buying fruit. Large factories and processing companies, however, continue to buy strawberries at slightly lower prices.
Also processors who freeze fruit have big problems with the fruit because the strawberry does not hold the parameters. In addition, a lot of fruit is damaged, sanded and therefore not suitable for freezing.
In the case of concentrate, strawberries ripening in current weather conditions contain a lower amount of fructose, therefore more raw material per kg of standardized concentrate is needed (approx. 30-35% more than in previous years) and the availability of quality strawberries is limited.
As the processors point out, due to the pandemic, the demand for strawberry concentrate has decreased. For the last 3 months people have not consumed products in restaurants, cafes and hotels, and strawberry concentrate is included in jams, fillings for ice cream and desserts. Shopping expenses have also been reduced. A significant proportion of consumers still buy only necessities. Thus, the pandemic reduced the demand for strawberry concentrate.
Season for Polish blueberries will start in two weeks
Larger blueberry crops from the open field will start in the second - third week of July. Due to prolonged flowering, the season can be "flattened" without a clear peak in supply.
Bad weather had an impact on the size of the harvest: Frost in April caused losses on plantations. It varies greatly, depending on the site, but on average is around 20%. Farmers however do not complain on the amount of seasonal workers. At the moment they have enough people willing to harvest fruit in the whole country.
In the spring, the frequency of visits to stores decreased significantly, while the value of the basket increased. According to commercial networks, the sale of berry fruit, which is an impulse purchase, has suffered. However, in this situation the blueberries, which are the most durable of these fruits, have defended themselves. For example, in Great Britain, an increase in the size of packaging was noticeable, i.e. consumers willingly bought blue berries for storage.
The demand for organic and premium quality fruit also increased there, i.e. consumers did not start saving on food at all. After the initial scales of buying pasta it's time for fruits and vegetables that best build our immunity. Signals from our contractors from Western Europe and Poland are optimistic and in my opinion the season promises to be good in terms of trade - says Dominika Kozarzewska, president of the "Polskie Jagody" Fruit Producers Group.- Over the past few years we've got used to the very early starts of the season. This year will be a return to seasons before 2017 - sums up Dominika Kozarzewska.
Source: Agroberichten Buitenland