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May 2012: China tightens regulations on Filipino bananas

The big news story this month was the effects of tightening of regulations on Filipino bananas entering China, this resulted in thousands of containers sitting in Chinese ports awaiting inspection, by the end of the month the situation was improving and more bananas were being allowed to enter China. It was also suggested that the disruption may have had a more political intention as the China was at the time disputing the Scarborough Shoal Islands in the South China Sea.

Monsanto started this month by announcing a new lettuce variety. The Frescada lettuce is a cross between iceberg and Romaine lettuce. In the UK, Marks and Spencer were set to launch the Papple from New Zealand, the result of cross breeding Chinese and Japanese pear varieties. A new variety of Chilean table grape was soon to become available in the national and international fruit industry. The Chimenti Globe was expected to have a high demand, specially in the Asian market, due to its characteristics and Marks and Spencer were setting the scene for the London Olympics with the release of the Athlete potato variety.

As always the weather was influencing fruit and vegetable production around the globe, damage of up to $20 million dollars was reported in Kings County, California from a storm in April, where mainly stone fruit was damaged. In Ontario, Canada, a bad freeze wiped out 80% of the Ontario apple crop, causing damage estimated at over $100 million. Mean while in Europe there was an earthquake in Italy, which caused millions of Euros of damage to farms and greenhouses and in Poland there were fears that the strawberry harvest could be reduced by 25-30% due to the extreme weather conditions during the winter and frost in February which saw temperatures drop to -30°C. Greece also had its weather worries, the harvest of Burlat cherries had just gotten underway when heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds devastated the producing areas of Veria, Pella and Naousa.

May saw the opening of the World Potato Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. During the event many hot topics in the potato industry were discussed, with the UK's 'wettest drought in history' being one of the most popular.

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