18 August 1997
Poor Mediterranean crop to hit fruit prices
EUROPEAN Union (EU) states face price increases for fresh and processed fruits as Mediterranean fruit growers face their worst harvests in more than 10 years.
The cause is adverse weather conditions including late frosts in April and gales in Italy in June. Production of Italian pears, peaches and apples is likely to be 60% below average as a result.
Mediterranean growers said ex-factory prices for processed fruits were already up 30%. The strength of Sterling has kept prices in the UK stable, but that could change. Fresh peaches could jump 5p to 30p for a single fruit.
EU apple production could be 9% below the normal level at 6.76m tonnes. Both farmers and processors in Italy are revising apple production estimates downwards and Italys share of the pear market is expected to drop to about 700,000 tonnes. Pear production in Spain is forecast to be down 14% and in France 26%.