January 2012: Year got underway with extreme temperatures

Weather wise 2012 started as it meant to carry on, unpredictable and sometimes extreme. South Africa suffered from extreme heat in January, which resulted in storms with heavy rain and strong winds, these came as the grape harvest was in full swing, damaging many vineyards. Meanwhile in the US growers were having to cope with frost. Florida citrus growers experienced a few sleepless nights when temperatures dipped to between 18-22°F (-8 to-6°C), although at the time no major damage was done.



At the end of the month the Russian and Ukraine markets saw shortages in the supply of fruit and vegetables due to very low temperatures which affected deliveries and quality.

January saw a lot firsts, 1st batch of imported Taiwan pears to go on sale in Xiamen, China. The Joya apple was launched on the EU market, aimed at the teenage market. January also saw the Nano watermelon on supermarket shelves for the first time, the variety is a smaller version of the more traditional watermelon.



Of course there were also low points for the fruit and vegetable industry at the start of the year. One of the biggest in the US being the Salmonella outbreak which was traced to cantaloupe melons, growers were still suffering the effects of the outbreak which caused 30 deaths and 133 cases of sickness across 26 states.

The controversy surrounding the use of the fungicide Carbendazim in Brazilian exported orange juice also continued into January, affecting orange juice consumption on a large scale.

The New Zealand kiwi industry, already suffering greatly from Psa, had to deal with heavy rain at the turn of the year which could potentially quicken the spread of the disease. Indeed a couple of weeks later it was reported that 11 new infected orchards had been identified, taking the total across all growing regions to 939. Of those, 777 in the Te Puke region.

Meanwhile in Italy, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture launched a research project for Psa with an allocation of EUR 1.55 million.



On a brighter note the month ended with most of the industry looking forward to the annual visit to Berlin for the Fruit Logistica. There was also the usual array of products geared to Valentine's Day, such "I Love You" apples from Poland and heart shaped cucumbers from Holland.


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