An unusual cold snap in China has adversely affected the harvest of paprika pods and overall yields are down nearly 50%. This premium grade paprika, which is around 14 cm long and grows on top of the plant, has experienced a 20% drop in yields and that has pushed prices up.
According to Paul Donohoe, who oversees Cresco Foods’ farms in China, the higher prices have not dissuaded buyers. “We are seeing steady and strong demand for our paprika pods, especially in Mexico,” he said from his office in Bangkok, Thailand. “We were concerned demand would drop off so this is a clear sign that the paprika market is very strong and healthy at the moment.”
The most recently planted paprika is performing slightly better than the current harvest and Mr. Donohoe anticipated a slight drop in prices if there are no weather surprises. “I just visited the farm in March and things look better for the upcoming yield and I think we will see prices drop a bit,” he commented. “However, until we see the market flush with healthy paprika again, I don’t think we will return to last year’s prices. The road back down to lower prices always seems to take more time than they do for them to spike.”
The next three months will give a strong indication to where the paprika prices will be headed in the short term. “I am doing my best to keep a close eye on the situation with the time I have on my hands,” Paul Donohoe said. “Part of my job is quality control but I also have banana, pineapple, durian, and mango farms to monitor, not to mention all the other spices and vegetables. But I will be back in China next month and will assess the situation again. I am hoping for a big healthy harvest because demand is very strong throughout the Americas and Asia.”