Hungary’s 2023 apricot export season, set to start next month, will see lower volumes sent to the rest of Europe due to widespread frost damage during spring. Last year producers and exporters in the country had a good season, with reasonable volumes, while prices received from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland were higher than years before.
Producers lighting fires to increase the ambient temperature in Hungarian apricot orchards to try and mitigate against frost damage.
According to Máté Tömösváry, from the co-operative Balaton-ker-Tész who represent about 160 producers across the Transdanubia region in Hungary, they are devastated by the damage done to the apricot orchards during the early spring frost. “We had a good year last year, but now we are back to the past two seasons before that when we had frost and weather damage that lowered our volumes. Last year we were so happy to have had good volumes and to receive fairly good prices across our export markets in Europe. It will be a much more difficult season than last year. There was huge frost damage three times during the spring, which is the main reason for the lower volumes. We tried everything but the situation in farms are very different.”
The Balaton-ker-Tész producers jointly have about 2,200 hectares of apricots, sour and sweet cherry, plums and apples under production. They have between 50-70 hectares of new orchards that came into full production. They reached 3,000 tons last season. Last week’s heavy rain (Week 20) also affected the cherry crop, causing cracking, especially on the early varieties that are due for harvesting from next week.
“We will only reach about 30%-40% of last year’s apricot production during this season. The early varieties are gone so the first few weeks will be not so busy in the warehouses. Unfortunately this frost could happen every year. Last year we had luck. We hope the remaining apricots will be of good quality to reach higher prices for us to help to recover some costs. We will do our best to deliver to our export partners in the region,” states Tömösváry.
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