The freezing temperatures recently recorded in Ukraine could lead to the loss of up to 80% of the stone fruit production and up to 50% of the berry crops, said Kateryna Zvereva, Director for Development of the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association (UPAA).
“Apricot and other stone fruit crops (peaches, sweet cherries and even some plum varieties) bloomed earlier than usual due to the high temperatures in March. However, night frosts that were fatal to stone fruit crops were recorded in late March, and the vast majority of growers in Ukraine don't yet have modern frost protection systems. Moreover, the cold weather during the flowering prevented the bees from pollinating the gardens," she said in a statement to Interfax-Ukraine.
As for berries, the UPOA this week received several messages from Ukrainian blueberry producers, concerned about the serious damage caused by the lower air temperatures at the end of last month.
“Due to the abnormally warm winter and significantly high temperatures in March, blueberries in many regions of Ukraine had almost started to bloom; however, frosts struck earlier this week. The situation worsened because frosts returned again after a short warm period,” said Zvereva.
According to UPAA research, Chandler blueberries were the most affected, with potential crop losses estimated at more than 50% in some regions. The Duke variety, which is one of the most popular among domestic growers, was also significantly affected.
“Losses in stone fruits could reach 80% of the potential production; in berries, perhaps 50%,” said the director for development of the UPOA.