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France declares “agricultural disaster” as country deals with aftermaths of frosts 

France declares “agricultural disaster” as country deals with aftermaths of frosts 
Photo by rfi.fr // After visiting a farm in Ardèche, in south-eastern France, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced plans to remove caps on compensation for agricultural disasters.

The unseasonal frosts that struck France last week are expected to have the most severe impact on the country’s agriculture in recent memory. Crops in large parts of the country face costly damage, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the  Rhône Valley and  Provence. Grapes, kiwifruit, apricots, and apples are among the crops most affected. The bitter frost struck suddenly after a bout  of warm  weather, which  worsened the  damage.

French agriculture minister Julien Denormandi said: “This is probably the  greatest agricultural catastrophe of the  beginning of the  21st  century. Several hundreds of thousands of hectares have  been impacted.

Daniel  Sauvaitre, president of the  National Apple Pear Association (ANPP), told AFP: “Peaches, nectarines and  apricots will not be easy  to find on the  shelves this  year. The challenge is to know if there are  enough flowers left that are  still green to get  a harvest. And it’s only mid-April,  there could  still be frost  until  early  May.”

 

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EU pear crop rebounds

EU pear crop rebounds

The EU’s 2020/21 (July/June) pear output is expected to be up 13% from last year, when production was at a record low, according to a USDA report. Production in Italy, the largest pear producing country in the EU, partly recovered this season due to favourable growing conditions. Similar good weather conditions, in combination with a slightly higher area harvested, also resulted in increased pear production in the Benelux countries. The taste, colour, and storage quality are good. However, hailstorms and heavy rains during flowering and fruit setting led to lower production volumes in the Iberian Peninsula. Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal together account for more than 80% of EU pear production (although the area harvested in Spain and Italy fell in 2020/21). EU pear consumption in 2020/21 is expected to rebound after the decline in 2019/20 (due to reduced domestic supply). EU pear import and export volumes are expected to remain unchanged in 2020/21.

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Cold snap threatened Spain’s supplies and pushes up prices

Cold snap threatened Spain’s supplies and pushes up prices
Photo: Coexphal

The fruit and vegetable sector in Spain was struck by record minimum temperatures last week, with rain and snow falling incessantly throughout the week, which will compromise harvests. Production has fallen considerably and is affecting all products. Prices are high as there is no capacity to supply all the demand that exists, not even to meet most of the commercial agreements that the marketing companies had already closed.

The intense cold keeps the growth of plants and their fruits paralysed while also threatening to cause damage that could be irreparable at this point in the season. Farmers do not have enough volumes either in the field or in their warehouses to supply all orders.

According to the analysis carried out by Juan Carlos Pérez Mesa, professor of the department of economics and business at the University of Almería, “in percentage terms, the products that show the greatest increase are: aubergine, courgette and cucumber. These products have practically doubled in price in a week. The price of tomato grows almost 60%. The pepper is the product with the lowest increase (17%).”

The weekly monitoring data for tomato and cucumber available to COEXPHAL reflect that the rise in prices is due to a very significant drop in production. Pérez Mesa points out that in the case of tomatoes “the decrease during the first week of the year is 27% and the same figure will remain during the next week.” Similar is the behavior of cucumbers, whose volume could fall by 30% in week 2 of this year. In the case of courgette and aubergine, a similar behaviour is expected for the next few days.

The professor from the University of Almería recalls that “although the price increase is always good news, it is not so much when they exceed the threshold at which the customer decides to stop buying.” In addition, the significant drop in the number of kilos also compromises the profitability of farmers at a crucial time for the campaign. Everything indicates that this complicated situation will be extended in time as bad weather is forecast to continue.

Cold damage manifests in various ways, depending on the microclimate of the different production areas. In parts of the province furthest from the coast, such as Campohermoso and Berja, there have been nights with frost, reaching -4ºC at the end of December. There have been losses due to freezing in many farms, affecting 20% ​​of the plants. In some cases, with relatively young plants, the entire greenhouse has been lost.” In addition, he points out that “in Berja, the frosts have brought forward the end of pepper cultivation in many places”.

Jan van der Blom warns that “the cold causes the growth points to weaken, making it difficult to flower or set during a long season. Given this, many producers who had planned to carry out a long tomato campaign, are forced to cut the plants early to carry out a spring crop.”

 

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Fluence Expands PhysioSpec™ Spectra Offering on VYPR Series for Global Greenhouse Cultivators

Fluence’s extended PhysioSpec™ spectra enable growers to optimize lighting strategies for any crop in any growth stage or geographic location. (Photo courtesy of Fluence by OSRAM)
Fluence’s extended PhysioSpec™ spectra enable growers to optimize lighting strategies for any crop in any growth stage or geographic location. (Photo courtesy of Fluence by OSRAM)
PRESS RELEASE

 

Enhanced spectra offering empowers growers to balance lighting efficacy with crop quality and yield

 

AUSTIN, Texas (June 4, 2020) — Fluence by OSRAM (Fluence), a leading global provider of energy-efficient LED lighting solutions notably for agriculture production, announced the launch of four additional spectra on its VYPR top light series, featuring market-leading efficacies up to 3.8 µmol/J. From broad white to high red, Fluence’s extended PhysioSpec™ spectra enable growers to optimize lighting strategies for any crop in any growth stage or geographic location.

“In our relentless pursuit of innovative lighting solutions for crop cultivation, we’ve conducted in-depth research on plant response under various spectra with a range of crops,” said David Cohen, CEO of Fluence. “One of the biggest challenges for cultivators around the world is the ability to tailor lighting strategies to their specific crops and environments. We’re excited to help them solve that challenge with a greater variety of light spectra to meet their unique needs.”

With expanded PhysioSpec™ spectra, the VYPR top light series offers higher efficacies (up to 3.8 µmol/J) and higher photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) (up to 2330 µmol/s) per fixture over comparable lighting technologies.

  • The PhysioSpec™ BROAD spectra offers continuous spectral emission across PAR 400 to 700 nm wavelength range, balancing energy efficiency with quality of light for desired plant response and human work environment.
  • The PhysioSpec™ DUAL spectra features red and blue spectral emission bands that maximize energy efficiency, helping to reduce energy costs and operational expenses for growers.

The latest VYPR top lighting system also features a patented thermal management technology, more compact and efficient power supplies, three new mounting options for flexible installation and new reflectors. Built for greenhouses and high-bay indoor cultivators producing year-round, the VYPR series enables growers to maintain predictable production, increase crop yields and improve plant quality compared to conventional production systems.

“Growers have the best understanding of their crops in their respective cultivation environments,” said Timo Bongartz, Fluence’s general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Choosing and implementing a supplemental lighting strategy should be a collaborative process. With our expanded spectra and new top light features, we are empowered with more tools to help our customers achieve their growing targets, enabling growers to save energy when possible, optimize light uniformity and increase light levels.” 

For more information about Fluence, visit www.fluence.science.

 

About Fluence by OSRAM

Fluence Bioengineering, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of OSRAM, creates the most powerful and energy-efficient LED lighting solutions for commercial crop production and research applications. Fluence is the leading LED lighting supplier in the global cannabis market and is committed to enabling more efficient crop production with the world’s top vertical farms and greenhouse produce growers. Fluence global headquarters are based in Austin, Texas, with its EMEA headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For more information about Fluence, visit www.fluence.science.

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Are South Koreans losing appetite for apples?

South Korea’s per capita apple consumption increased to 11.4 kilograms in 2015 from 7.5 kg in 2005, driven by the abundant apple crop (582,846 MT) and a growing public perception of apples as a healthy and nutritional fruit. However, since 2015, apple consumption has gradually decreased to 9.2 kilograms per capita due to increased competition with other imported fruits. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, South Korea’s fruit imports increased by 49% to 720,000 tons, following new FTAs with major fruit exporting countries such as Chile, the US, Australia, and New Zealand. 

As the ratio of small family (single or two family member households) increased steadily in recent years, food consumption trend also changed toward demand for more convenient and smaller packages of healthy and nutritional food products.

South Korea exports very few of its apples as domestic apple prices are more attractive to apple growers and demand remains strong. Currently, South Korean phytosanitary regulations do not allow fresh apple imports.

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Recovery of EU apple prices this season

Recovery of EU apple prices this season

 

EU apple prices during the ongoing campaign are significantly above the average for the past five years, due to the small crop. According to Wapa/Prognosfruit data, this campaign’s crop is down 20% from the preceding year and 11% below the 5-year average.  Compared to the challenging 2018/19 campaign (excess of supply in some Member States, especially in Poland), 2019/20 has seen a great recovery in the sector. EU apple stocks on 1st December 2019 were at their lowest level since 2012.

Although the average EU apple price this campaign is well above five-year average, there are some divergences between Member States. Poland’s prices have seen the greatest recovery. French apple prices are above average but lower than the preceding campaign, as the French crop is actually larger this season. Meanwhile, German prices were slightly above average and Italian prices have recovered gradually from a difficult end to the previous marketing year.

For prices to remain high, EU internal demand will need to stay high. A mild winter could thwart this aim by dampening demand.