In August, apple prices in Czech stores rose to a record 50 crowns per kilo (about 1.85 Euro), which entails a year-on-year increase of 66 percent. According to Martin Ludvík, chairman of the Fruit Union of the Czech Republic, several factors are to blame for this, including a relatively low supply not only in the Czech Republic, but also in a number of neighboring countries," he says.
The Czech Republic relies on apple imports - as about half of what Czechs consume is imported. "There were few apples in stock, and not only in our country, so Europe has been forced to import apples from distant destinations, such as South America or New Zealand," he said.
The spring season was also marked by the pandemic. People were told to consume more fruit and vegetables, and "the retail chains increased their prices. I dare say that, at least in this matter, they were the ones making the best from the state of emergency," he says.
This year's apple harvest in the Czech Republic, estimated at just over 111,000 tons, will be below average, but still higher than last year's. "It doesn't matter if the harvest is average or above average, as imports will still play a determining role," he says.
In any case, with the current harvest, apple prices should go down. Fresh produce is coming to the market which is not burdened by storage costs. "At the moment, growers are selling their apples for around 25 crowns (0.92 Euro), and they are still sold for around 45 crowns (1.66 Euro) in stores. Prices should now continue to fall," he predicts.