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July 2012: European fruit and vegetable estimates down

July started well for British Columbian cherry growers who had high expectations for this year's cherry crop, saying it should be twice as high in value as it was in 2010 and 2011. These hope were soon dashed and many growers were anticipating losses in the millions due to rain and wind which wrought havoc on the ripening fruits. Things were looking good for Washington apple growers, with a big part of the United States suffering from drought conditions, Washington had good weather and was looking forward to a bumper crop. Pear growers in Washington and Oregon also looked forward to a good crop.

Meanwhile in Europe top fruit growers were not optimistic about harvest volumes for the season, estimates were showing a drop in both apple and pear volumes. Elsewhere in Europe, the UK fruit and vegetable production was again at the mercy of the weather, after having suffered the driest Spring in years, the country was hit by heavy downpours and very dull conditions. Only half of the usual amount of potatoes had been lifted, the pea harvest was expected to be down by 40% and the softfruit season was running two weeks behind, with consumer demand dampened by the weather.

In Spain devastating fires destroyed 50,000 hectares of agricultural land in the Valencia area, damage was expected to reach above 21 million Euro. As if this was not enough, in Lleida in Northern Spain, wind and hail battered around 25,000 ha of fruit, most affected were apples, pears, nectarines, almonds and peaches.

Also this month South Korea lifted a twelve year ban on Pakistani mangoes, Brazil lifted a temporary block on Argentinian topfruit. The International Trade Commission ofthe European Parliament approved two disclaimers meant to secure the tradein European bananas and there were fears that Turkish attempts to deter Russian military exports to Syria during the conflict there would lead to a Russian attack on the country's fruit and vegetable industry.

On the banana front, in Honduras a new variety was being produced, the
FHIA 17 is said to be resistant to the "Panama disease". After more than ten years, the banana genome was sequenced by two French research organizations. In Ecuador the banana crisis forced producers to prohibit the sale of bananas for a period of four weeks. This was due to the breach of contract agreed between producers and exporters, who would not comply with the official price of a banana box.

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