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Mike Knowles

BY MIKE KNOWLES

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Berries and apples hit by Italy storm

Production in both Trentino and South Tyrol has reportedly been hit hard by recent poor weather

Berries and apples hit by Italy storm

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Fruit production in the north-east of Italy is counting the cost of last week’s major storm, which according to local news sources has hit berry and apple producers in the Trentino-South Tyrol region especially hard.

As reported by Italiafruit, production of strawberries and other berries in Trentino was badly affected, while in neighbouring South Tyrol to the north, a significant number of apple trees were apparently uprooted by the storm’s high winds.

In Trentino alone, where overall damage amounting to €250m-€300m was noted, provincial president Maurizio Fugatti said the area’s fruit industry had been especially badly affected.

Mauro Fiamozzi, president of Coldiretti Trento, told the Trentino newspaper: “The agricultural sector worst hit is the strawberry and berry greenhouses in Valsugana.”

However, he suggested the damage was not as bad as it might have been. “Had this terrible event occurred a month earlier, the damage [to apples in particular] would have been unimaginable,” he observed. “Now, the only apple variety left to harvest is Pink Lady, but there is not much of this in Trentino, whereas in nearby South Tyrol entire apple orchards have been uprooted, with trees full of apples.”

Matteo Bortolini, director of leading Italian berry marketer Sant'Orsola, said it would take a week or so to assess the damage to soft fruit production. “We can estimate very heavy damage, particularly in Valsugana where many greenhouses have been completely crushed by fallen trees. This could lead to production problems in coming seasons.”

Fortunately, berry harvesting was nearing an end in the region, with only some strawberries left to pick.

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