The scorching heat in Italy, which this year was already felt in the month of May and then did not go away, and the lack of rain, are causing a decline in citrus yields in the Basilicata region. However, less fruit is also expected in other citrus growing regions such as Apulia, Sicily and Calabria. Based on comments from technicians and growers, about 30% less fruit is expected in Basilicata.
"The high temperatures in June, which lasted several weeks, exacerbated the moulting. Large quantities of fruit were simply shed by the trees and fell to the ground. In early summer, and thus in the phase of cell multiplication, we had peaks of even 42°C. In our region it seems to have been warmer in June and July than in August. During the last few weeks, it has been a little cooler and the plants are lush again after some rains," said Marco Vitelli, a grower who has an area of over 30 hectares of oranges and clementines in some municipalities in the province of Matera.
"My variety catalog is very broad. I have both early and late varieties. Some plots are just a few kilometers from the Ionian coast, others a bit more inland, but in all the orchards I foresee a considerably disappointing yield. Some of the late varieties will even be dramatically affected. We will hardly be able to pick fruit from them this year."
"With the exceptional flowering in the spring and the unyielding year for many varieties, it seemed we were headed for a big harvest. But now we have to revise our forecasts down considerably. On the other hand, it will be an excellent year in terms of quality and size, although it is still to be seen how this will impact the market. In the coming months we will certainly have to pay attention to imports. Now that the consumer's purchasing power has weakened, the cheaper foreign citrus could be preferred over the Italian product."