This year, it was not late frosts but drought that caused significant damage to the Hungarian fruit sector. And the longer-term effects of the drought could further accelerate the decline of Hungary's fruit-growing areas, Agroinform.hu told the state news agency MTI on Thursday.
Based on data from FruitVeb, the Hungarian Fruit and Vegetable Interprofessional Organization and Product Council, the agricultural portal pointed out that 42% less apples will be harvested this year, about 300,000 tons instead of 520,000 tons last year, and the loss will be especially significant for juices.
As in previous years, this year's crop of pears will be around 60,000 tons, but the situation is aggravated by the fact that only part of this crop has reached the 18-mm size required by the processing industry.
The picture is more mixed for fruit varieties with smaller areas, where the late spring frosts could result in a slightly below-average plum harvest of around 55,000 tons. However, peaches and apricots have been harvested in much larger quantities than in previous years, with the latter yielding around 25,000 tons, which is not a record but is certainly an outlier compared to previous years. Pears yielded 17,000 tons, a slight increase on last year's 16,000 tons, and cherries around 10,000 tons, a good result.
Of watermelons, which are largely grown in irrigated areas, over 120,000 tons were produced this year, covering both Hungarian and export requirements. However, the high temperatures caused a drop in average yields and the faster harvest caused a shorter than usual intensive season.
The statement quoted Ferenc Apáti, president of FruitVeb, as saying that the drought has not only had a negative impact on this year's harvest, but will also have a strong impact on next year's crop. Weakened fruit trees, with limited access to nutrients, lack the energy to produce the number of flower buds needed to ensure next year's harvest. In the long term, only intensive plantations with at least partial protection against frost and hail damage and irrigation have a future," he added.
However, the cost of modern technology will inevitably be reflected in the price of fruit, which means that prices on the fruit market will continue to rise in the long term, Agroinform.hu said in the statement.
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