The hope that 2021 would be pandemic-free quickly evaporated as the world is still dealing with the challenges. However, that’s not all that happened, and in the December special, we’ll be looking at the major events of every month.
The weather did not play nice in various regions, as heavy rains damaged grape crops in South Africa and cherries in Central Otago. The frosts in Murcia led to a reduction of vegetable supplies, something Egypt commented on, stating they would not be able to fill this gap. This meant both Spanish citrus as well as the vegetables were headed to a very rough season, as 300 trucks were blocked in Spain due to the snow. The snowy weather resulted in increased demand for clementines all over Europe. On the other side of the globe, in Argentina, growers also had to deal with adverse weather conditions. Cold and dry weather meant that the lemon harvested decreased by 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, the very first Turkish apples arrived in Thailand, mango consumption in the United States continued to grow and cargo space started to become a real issue, as the Egyptian strawberry season was affected by the limited availability. There was a strong demand for Californian citrus, while avocado prices picked up after a significant drop. Banana prices also increased in Ecuador, mostly due to damages to banana plantations.
In Africa, the Namibian grape season exceeded the expectations, ending around 12% above the initial estimate. Chile’s grape volumes were also up and had good quality. Fruit Logistica announced the new concept of Fruit Logistica Special Edition, which unfortunately would not take place at all as we would later find out. During the pandemic, it seemed that kiwifruit was among the favorite fruits in Europe. The United Kingdom deregulated citrus imports, the Egyptian citrus season had a very strong start and the Dutch onion sector was still worried about Fusarium. Bill Gates became the largest farmland owner in the United States, and the Washington Apple Commission took the US Golden Delicious and Cripps pink varieties to Colombia.
By the end of January, China had adjusted the import tariffs for fruit in 2021 and Zespri saw their attempt to buy counterfeit Chinese kiwifruit denied by the regulator. Egyptian citrus exporters felt there was real potential for their citrus to enter big markets in the Far East. Chile’s grape volumes started to ramp up, and Chilean stone fruit did very well as the US west coast ports started to experience some delays. Californian growers were also preparing for rains and snow. Finally, traces of Covid-19 were found inside the packaging of imported cherries.