Year Overview 2019: Environmental Challenges

The year 2019 has passed by in the blink of an eye. While we’re heading into the last month of the year, FreshPlaza will look back at the big events of the year. From protests to trade wars to environmental challenges, let’s take a look at what happened in 2019.

Spring frosts in Poland
During the spring, Poland was hit with heavy frost. This resulted in large amounts of damaged fruits, both in apples and soft fruit. One grower claimed it could lead to 85 per cent less produce being available, but later it seemed this number was slightly exaggerated. Some varieties were not hit as hard by the frosts as other varieties. Multiple regions were hit by the freezing weather, but the center of Poland did not have it as bad. Strawberries were hit the hardest, as the spring frosts always are most felt close to the ground. After the April frosts, there was another wave of freezing weather, which severely damaged the blueberry plantations in May.

Italians had a rough year
It was not just the Polish that suffered from this extreme weather, as Italy also had to deal with weather challenges. It resulted in uncommon scenes, as a big pack of snow in May is not seen every year in Italy. Next to a strong hailstorm on the 12th of May, Italy had to deal with floods which meant a worrying situation for stone fruit, watermelons and table grapes.

The frosts and snow is not where the challenges for the Italians ended, as June proved to be a difficult month for all kinds of fruit growers. Huge hailstones that were up to 8 centimeters in diameter destroyed various fruits and heavy winds even taking down some of the weather protection equipment that was in place. Hailstorms were found frequently in Italy, as in June the country had already measured 124 violent hailstorms, almost twice as many as the amount of hailstorms the same period the year before.

Heavy floodings in Spain
The Spanish regions of Alicante, Valencia and Murcia had a disastrous September, as heavy weather hit and caused numerous floods. All kinds of crops were destroyed, which meant a lot of replanting would have to be done after the weather passed. The amount of water also increased the risks of fungal infections for the citrus and kaki seasons. A week later people were still dealing with the aftermath and it was estimated about 300,000 hectares were damaged, next to 200 hectares of vegetable greenhouses being damaged.

Monsoons affect fruit seasons in India
The monsoon season in India was a lot heavier than normal. The monsoon in the Southwest caused around 140 million EUR in damages, with the worst damage found in Palakkad, with 10,886 hectares affected by the monsoon season. The monsoons affected many seasons, from pomegranates to mangoes to onions. The worst hit fruit plantations were those of the bananas (5204 hectares) and vegetables (1863 hectares). The monsoons also led to high demand for onions, as certain Indian states were hit heavily by the monsoons and heavy rains. High demand in combination with damaged red onions caused the price to shoot up.


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