According to leading Belgian fresh produce marketer Special Fruit, the poor conditions led to crop tunnels beginning production two weeks later than normal in April, while open field production was also delayed by two weeks.
Speaking to www.freshfruitportal.com, Special Fruit’s Sarah Hellemans said there was unlikely to be any significant change to the current situation until at least June 25.
“We believe that there will be a lot of volume from then onwards,” she said.
To avoid such problems in the future, Hellemans argued that “greater coordination” was required between growers, distributors and customers, although she admitted that challenges remained.
“Our main challenge is to maintain a good open air production, although in the future we will get more produce from the glasshouses.”
In terms of berry sales, Special Fruit’s three biggest products are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, with strawberry variety El Santa the most popular individual product.
The company, which operates exclusive partnerships with a number of Belgian soft fruit growers, exports more than 4.5 million metric tons (MT) of berries each year to 28 countries across Europe, as well as to Russia and the Middle East.