Temperatures across large parts of Greece regularly broke 40C last month, affecting various crops and causing prices to jump

Vegetable prices have soared in Greece since the widespread heat wave that hit large parts of Europe last month, giving Greece its hottest July for 50 years. In early August, according to a report from Iefimerida, salad prices started to rival those of meats.

At Athens Central Market, the report stated, courgettes were selling at €1 a kilogram on 3 August, up from €0.70 this time last year. In Thessaloniki, wholesale prices are reportedly even higher at €1.20 a kilo, 167 per cent pricier than last year’s €0.45, and 118 per cent up even on the price of the prior week.

Wholesale pepper prices from Thessaloniki increased from €0.50 to €1.50 year on year, according to Iefimerida. Tomatoes from Athens reportedly rose from €0.70 to €1.10, cucumbers and green beans recorded 100 per cent increases, while smaller rises were recorded in beetroot, radishes, celery and onions.

In the fruit category, watermelon prices increased by 100 per cent year on year, while increases of up to 20 per cent were recorded in apricots, peaches and cherries.

The extensive heat affected the quality of leafy vegetables and tomatoes in the country, causing gaps in supply, according to Nick Nafpliotis, managing director of Greek & Fresh.

Nick Nafpliotis, G&F

Nick Nafpliotis, Greek & Fresh

Nafpliotis says that extensive rainfall in June also affected grape production in the south of the country, while the cooler north fared much better.

“In Crete, where the season finishes next week, a reduced crop was recorded due to heavy rainfall in March, causing production to fall by about 30 per cent,” he said. “However, the season generally went well, and prices were satisfactory.”

In Corinth, the main production region for Greek grapes, the most extreme heat was felt. “The heat wave lasted for more than two weeks in July,” said Nafpliotis. “In many areas, more than 50-60 per cent of the crop was damaged, with even higher altitude areas being affected. Overall, this was a catastrophic season for grape producers in this region.”

In the northern region of Kavala, by contrast, Nafpliotis said everything was so far going well, without any problems to the grape crop.

“The quality of the grapes is better than last year, and volumes are similar if not a bit higher,” he said. “The seedless season starts in around 10-12 days. In the last four to five years, this region has invested a lot in the plantation of new varieties mainly from Arra and IFG, so the availability of these varieties is increasing every year.”