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Peter Durlet, Depa-Fruit, Belgium:

"Every last uncovered cherry's been ruined"

There has been a deluge of rain in Belgium recently. It's had disastrous consequences for the fruit and vegetable farming sector. The damage to cherries and full soil fruit and vegetables, in particular, has been immense.

"There's been a tremendous amount of rain in the heart of Belgian cherry-growing country. In Limburg, the entire uncovered crop has been destroyed," says Peter Durlet of Depa-Fruit. "When it rains this much, the cherries absorb the water and then split."

"Cherries are delicate, and many things can go wrong. And things are going very wrong right now. Everything's soaked. Whether it's climate change or not - I've never seen so much rain. And there's nothing we can do about it."

The top fruit crops seem to have remained mostly unscathed for now. Besides cherries, the rain has affected mainly open field fruit vegetables. The huge amounts of rains have flooded entire plots.

Sad sight for the arable farmers along the Maas [river] 😓  the water's rising by the minute.

Covered cultivation
"In Belgium, it's not yet customary to cover fruit trees," says cherry grower Leon Vets. "I started using roller systems a few years back. And, fortunately, that has helped. The damage to the covered crops was limited. But it must stop raining. The increased root pressure will make the cherries split."'s driver, Richard, shot this clip on the way to the Palatinate region [in Germany].

Vilt reports that farmers near Maastricht [in the Netherlands] were particularly hard hit. Rivers burst their banks. And some fields are under up to a meter of water. That's disastrous for crops. Many strawberry and soft fruit plots didn't survive.

After 2016, our potatoes are drowning again because ditches and streams are flooding.

Mudslides in Wallonia
Wallonia, in Belgium, has suffered extensive damage. That's according to the Walloon Agricultural Association. Vily says farms have been flooded. Entire fields of crops have been washed away too. The water's been running downstream in the hill areas. But it's taking the soil with it, eroding the soil. So growers have still lost many crops.

For more information:
Peter Durlet
Tel: +32 (0) 478 989 845

Leon Vets
Vets Kersen en Fruit
Tel: +32 (0) 472 196 372

Source: Vilt

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