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60%-80% of early cherry production destroyed

Greece: Heavy rain and thunderstorms devastate cherry production

The harvest of Burlat cherries had just gotten underway in Greece when heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds last night (Monday) devastated the producing areas of Veria, Pella and Naousa, some early varieties of peaches were also affected.

The harvest began last Sunday but the main volume, 70%-80% was due to be harvested between Wednesday and Sunday. Katsalis Konstantinos, from Fresh Farm, explains that the Burlat variety is very difficult to export anyway and now it will be almost impossible. "Even if we manage to save a decent volume, they will not be in a good enough condition for export due to the amount of water they received because of the rain".

The areas affected the most were Veria, Pella and Naousa in Northern Greece. There have so far been no reports of hail. "The heavy rain affected very badly the early varieties of cherries (Burlat), and the strong wind affected early varieties of peaches. Hopefully we will not have big damage apart from a few broken branches," says Konstantinos who is still awaiting official reports, but is estimates that he has lost between 60 - 80% of the cherry production.

Konstantinos goes on to say that the domestic market will be affected by the quality of the early cherries, too much water makes the fruit even more sensitive. "On the other hand, this shortage will lead to higher prices. As far as the export market is concerned, we will not see any changes because most of our Burlats would not be exported anyway".

Greek exporters usually sell cherries to close destinations. In the past Fresh Farm has sent a few trucks to Russia & Ukraine using long-life bags, and also sent some pallets to Cyprus and other destinations like Romania and Bulgaria. "It's very difficult to export early cherries as we are talking about 8-10 days of shelf life maximum".

Despite the difficult political situation and the economy, Konstantinos remains positive about the future for Greek producers, saying that as long as the producers continue to produce top quality fruit which is safe for consumers, "they will definitely survive."

"The economic crisis makes things harder but the producers have to keep trying. In our company we give hundreds of seminars throughout the year, trying to introduce new varieties and techniques to the growers. The combination of new varieties, hard work and the special characteristics of the Greek fruit (due to the climate of the areas of production) can improve the situation and achieve better results in the markets."
For more information:
Katsalis Konstantinos
Fresh Farm
Fruits & Vegetables by:
Tel: +30 23330 53015

Publication date: 5/15/2012
Author: Nichola McGregor
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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