December is always a busy month for us at Fresh Plaza, and this year was no different. Once again we visited the New York Produce show to catch up with all the latest in the industry and complete our annual photo report.
Not all was jolly in the month of Saint Nick however, as banana production took a big hit in the Dominican Republic and higher prices were forecast for Ecuador.
Bananas weren't the only victims this month. Grapes also took a hit, with heavy floods sinking production in Peru, creating a gap in the market which the United states hopes to fill. South African citrus isn't safe either, with a drought hampering production, and exports dropping.
South African citrus growers in the Western cape were worried the intense heat this month could hit quality. California citrus growers faced a different kind of heat, with a wildfire blazing through Ventura County. There was one little gift neatly wrapped to make it up to citrus growers though as researchers revealed new findings which could help in the fight against citrus greening.
This could be good news for competing countries though, like Ecuador. According to Miriam Barona, CEO of the Futa de Oro company, banana prices are predicted to be higher at the start of 2018 in Ecuador
. However, he said that prices were expected to stabilise by the middle of the year, with "the competition generated by the production of seasonal fruits in banana-buying countries, which also influences prices."
ASBAMA Banana Forum
December also saw the ASBAMA Banana Forum take place in Colombia. The highlight of the event was the announcement of Dr Anuar Escaf Mendoza, Executive President of ASBAMA, and Dr Felix Ospino Acevedo, Secretary of Economic Development (E), about the signing of a contract with the Governorate of Magdalena to provide technical assistance to 200 small producers
of the Zona Bananera on agronomic management practices.
Climate effects southern hemisphere grapes, California provides
Vanguard's Chief Farming Officer, Kevin Andrew, assessing process in one of the Sweet Celebration blocks in Peru.
Heat hits South Africa and California citrus, new tool against HLB
Growers in the Western Cape voiced their concerns over the current drought in December. The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that growers have only 40% of their water allocation rights for the Olifants River. Excessive temperatures are also worrying growers
, with a maximum temperature of 46°C recorded earlier this month. Growers are worried this could worsen the usual fruit fall around this time of year.
California faced a similar situation to the Western Cape, as earlier heat this year caused a reduction in harvest volume. Growers in Ventura County had to suffer through a different kind of heat after the Thomas fire began raging through the county in the first week of December
. The fire devoured twelve buildings used for housing guest workers by citrus producer Limoniera, but fortunately nobody was hurt. The current damage to citrus groves in the county are currently unknown.
Thomas fire in Venture, California: Image source: @VCF_PIO
Things were a bit cooler for growers in Valencia, Spain. Valencia saw freezing temperatures in the first week of December. While the cold took a heavy toll on kaki production in the area, citrus production is said to be a few weeks ahead
. Producers therefore expect the season to finish earlier this year.
Various booths at the New York Produce Trade Show
New York Produce Show Photo report
Wednesday, December 13, marked the 8th annual New York Produce Trade Show which was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The show had another great turnout with 400 exhibitors showcasing their latest and greatest. Once again, we were there for our annual photo report of the event. You can see the full photo report here