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Typhoons, hail storms, bans

Not everyone will be looking fondly back on November 2013

The month of November brought many storms in its wake, as the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines know all too well. Many businesses ran to their aid such as Japanese retailer Aeon and Tadeco, who donated their time and money to help survivors by distributing relief packs. There was however, relief of a different kind for the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association as they reported that the typhoon had spared Mindanao's banana production.

Spain also didn't escape nature's unpredictability when hail storms devastated greenhouse in Almeria. It was reported that at least 300 hectares of plastic greenhouses had collapsed under the weight of the ice. Just a couple of days later, an emergency situation was declared and growers were scrambling to save their last source of income by picking the last fruits from the damaged crops before they start top rot. This already followed an earlier report of historic delays in the kiwi harvest due to rains and lack of cold weather.

Italy was also forced to request a natural disaster status in Sardinia due to bad weather which caused a lot of damage and unfortunately even some fatalities. The Lazio region was also hit by a hail storm which left 10 cm of ice on the ground causing viability problems and damaging crops.

Thousands of kilometers away in South Africa, growers there were also fearing the worst when hail has caused havoc in the biggest fruit-growing areas in the Western Cape, wiping out fruit crops on scores of farms in the Witzenberg, Ceres and Koue Bokkeveld areas. There was some confusion following the storm due to some areas being inaccessible due to the flooding, but it was thought that some growers had lost 80% of their crop, with others as much as 100%.

Asia continued to be a region of growth for companies around the globe. French company
Oscar® was happy to announce the first shipment of French kiwi's to South Korea. T'is the season, the first shipment is expected to arrive on Christmas day.

Just to prove how important the Asian market has become, Jon Clark from Total Cherry, went so far as to say that "The Chinese market will determine if there is enough fruit for the UK/Europe."
Spanish kiwi growers were also seeking entry into the Chinese market, with the president of the Galician Government, Alberto Núñez Feijóo stating, "3,000 million people live in Asia, which is a market where great consumers are to be found. It is certainly a market we need to reach."

Of course, the doors of trade swing both ways, French based 888 Fruit Company, announced the start of the import of Chinese chestnuts, with the arrival of the first few containers at the end of the month.

After a year of going back and forth, the EU made the decision at the end of the month to ban South African citrus for the rest of the 2012/13 season. This decision was made despite the fact that leading experts on CBS had concluded that the disease could not be spread throughout Europe.

In Spain, it was reported that Andalusia was expecting a record citrus campaign, which lead to citrus producers fearing drastic price drops. Peiró Camaró, based in Valencia, also reported smaller and less attractive oranges and clementines due to the hot weather in October.

The Israeli citrus season also started to pick up in the middle of the month after a slow start. Junior Fruit in the Netherlands also announced that Florida grapefruit was back, but did say that it seems to be getting more exclusive every year. Finally, AOP Armonia launched the DolceClementina, a fun play on the traditional idea of a fruit basket.

was pleased to share the news that their home farm Mastron was honoured with the Canadian Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. Not to be forgotten; Kloosterboer was awarded 3 star BREEAM-NL certification, Rijk Zwaan remained at the top of the Hillenraad 100 list and in the UK, Nunhems variety Romance F1 was voted “Best Tasting carrot”

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