Problems arose mid-season

Italy: The start of the season was not that bad

"This was worst season in decades for plums," says Stefano Zocca, director of Vignola's fresh produce market.

There are three reasons why things went the way they did: "first of all, there was an overproduction due to good weather during setting, but such an abundant production meant lower quality."


The Vignola fresh produce market (MO).

The second reason was the weather during summer, "as plum consumption is closely linked with warm weather. Without a real summer, demand dropped. Finally, because of the economic crisis, people started buying less fruit."

The season though did not start this way as, at the beginning, "the early and bigger varieties did not do so bad. European plums, which are easier to harvest and therefore have lower labour costs, managed to reach €0.50-0.70/kg. In June, Ruth Gerstetter remained above €0.70/kg. Goccia d'Oro even managed to reach peaks of €0.80/1.00/kg."

Problems arose in July, when prices started to drop. "Amola, for example, struggled to reach €0.50/kg and the same went for Goccia d'Oro". Some companies registered prices lower by 30%.

Now the season is ending, there are only the late varieties to go, but it is still early to make an assessment. "However, there is a lot of produce stored in cold units and we need room for pears." Some owners are taking out plums to make room for pears. "We still don't know how the pear season will go because most of the fruit hasn't been sold yet. Though we do know that supply will be abundant."

"We really hope that the Russian ban will be lifted, as the country absorbed a lot of low quality produce that we could not sell abroad. In a year like this, Russia would have helped us a lot."

"This year was so bad that I can't see how next year could be the same - it's impossible that the same exact weather conditions will be repeated. In addition, it is normal that after such an abundant production, plants will produce less."

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