Producers in south eastern Spain are counting the cost of last month’s heavy rains and flooding that left hundreds of thousands of hectares under water and seriously disrupted exports at one of the busiest times of the year.
Citrus and leafy vegetables are among the worst hit crops, but kaki, vegetable and table grape harvests have all been severely affected.
In addition to the immediate losses to lettuce, spinach and baby leaf crops, the excessive humidity would result in a higher incidence of rot and botrytis in broccoli, cauliflower and courgette production in the coming weeks, hitting export volumes and pushing prices up.
The excessive humidity meant growers have been unable to proceed with the next round of planting, leading to further disruptions to supplies in the coming months.
Italy is in the grip of a severely cold bout of snowy, icy conditions that threatens to have a major impact on supplies of key winter products including salads and citrus, as well as affecting later supply of products such as table grapes.
Night-time temperatures are consistently below zero, even in coastal areas, and lower inland – for example, 700m above sea level in Campobasso (in the southern region of Molise) they have registered -10°C. Farmers are even using their sowing machines as salt spreaders.
Thousands of hectares of table grapes grown in tunnels could be crushed under the weight of accumulated snow. And the low temperatures could also cause great damage to citrus plants if the weather does not become milder again soon.
Puglia is one of Europe’s main supplier in winter for many types and varieties of salads and other vegetables, some of which have already been damaged by the cold temperatures.
Especially affected are whole-head lettuce and chicory, baby leaf salads, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, artichokes, batavia, iceberg, rocket, spinach, parsley, leeks and other herbs. The severe situation is still in full swing and a few days will have to pass before we can see its consequences.