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Sudden snow and cold threatens Eastern European growers
After what seemed like a promising start to the spring, growers in Eastern Europe are being threatened with losses after snow, frost and cold temperatures continue to threaten the region.
"In the higher mountain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, snow as deep as 20 cm has been reported, causing branches and trees to break. The worst thing is that meteorologists, are predicting temperatures below zero to continue for the next few days. The most vulnerable fruits are apples, pears, plums and raspberries." said Bojan Kecman, Minister of Agriculture for the Republic of Srpska.
Fruit growers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have requested the help of the armed forces there to battle the cold weather with military helicopters to chase away the cold weather in fruit orchards.
Orchards hit by heavy snow fall in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A similar situation was also reported by Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber spokesperson, Jana Holeciova.
“Between 800 and 1,000 people will work in orchards during the next two nights. Fruit growers are enlisted the help of fog generating equipment, for the first time ever, in order to save their crops,” stressed Holeciova. "In order to further increase the level of protection, farmers are going to use anti-frost drip irrigation, but the method requires large quantities of water." said Holeciova on Wednesday (19 April).
Despite doing everything possible, Kecman confirmed that there will be losses.
"Already now we can say that there will be damage in orchards because the flowering is almost finished. Fruit growers had expected record yields this year." said Kecman.
It's a disappointing turn of events for growers in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Slovakia alike, who had seen a promising season in 2017 after being hit with frost damages in 2016. April frosts in 2016 cost Slovak fruit growers a total of 16 million euros (17.2 million U.S. dollars) and frosts during the same period caused from 60-90% damages for orchards growers in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Ukrainian top and stone fruit growers are also facing a similar fate, with the weather center there already predicting up to 30 percent losses in the southeast.
“The warm spring this year brought early blossoming for apricot, cherry and pear trees, and the strong ground frosts and low temperatures of minus 1-4 centigrade have damaged fruit trees. I expect losses to be at least 30 percent. The blossoming fruit trees in the western and northern regions of the Ukraine are expected to suffer the most.” concluded Tetiana Adamenko from the Ukrainian weather center.
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