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Satisfactory apple harvest in German region, Alten Land

The apple farmers in the largest cultivation area, the Alten Land, and the region around Lake Constance are satisfied with this year's apple harvest. However the development of the prices worries many farmers. “We have harvested about 12% more (350,000 metric tons) compared to last year,” states Matthias Görgens, deputy manager of the fruit cultivation center in Jork, Lower Saxony. “This year the quality is excellent, which clearly stimulates consumption." The most popular varieties are Elstar and Jonagold.

The excellent quality compared to the previous year is due to the weather. “We had optimal weather conditions for the development of the apples directly after the blossom in May," explained Görgens. It was warm and sunny. The harvest season in the Alten Land will end any day now, states Görgens.

The region Alten Land, near Hamburg, is the largest continuous fruit cultivation area north of the Alps. Not only apples, but also cherries, pears, plums, strawberries and raspberries are cultivated here.

The farmers established around the Lake Constance are satisfied too. About 260,000 metric tons of apples have been harvested up to now. "This matched our expectations," states the managing director of the marketing company Fruit of Lake Constance, Eugen Setz. Last year the yield was, due to better weather, around 300,000 metric tons.

Furthermore the harvest is a bit delayed this year, says Setz. “The late varieties, for example Fuji apples, are being harvested right now, and this will last until mid to end November. On the other hand, the harvest of other varieties has ended.” According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Baden-Württemberg there are around 1,200 farmers cultivating apples on about 7,000 hectares in the region.

However, past political developments are still a concern of the farmers. For example, Helmut Jäger recently stated that they have not yet recovered from the Russian embargo. Russia stopped import of produce from the European Union, as a reaction to the EU sanctions after the Ukraine crisis. This caused, for example, an increase in Polish apples on the Western European market, because they cannot sell their apples in Russia. Furthermore many farmers complained about the increase in the costs due to the minimum wage.

Source: Proplanta
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