Europe: Open field vegetable shortage to last until April, says FEPEX
Spain's leading grower association has warned the current vegetable crisis in Europe caused by extreme weather in major growing regions may extend until mid-April for some produce items.
Supplies of many open field vegetables have been critically low over recent weeks in the European market, due to a combination of cold temperatures, heavy rain, flooding and snow in Spain, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries.
The situation has led to a spike in prices around the continent.
In a statement, Spain’s Federation of Fruit, Vegetable, Flower and Live Plant Grower Exporter Associations (FEPEX) said production of some vegetables was currently 60% lower than normal.
"FEPEX envisages the situation remaining as it is until at least mid-April for leafy vegetables grown in the open air, like lettuces, endives and spinach, and their availability will depend on weather condition during February and March," it said.
It explained the poor growing conditions had been most severe in the southeast of the country, which experienced a drought in October and November, constant rainfall and flooding in December and January, as well as snow and frosts this month.
"In the grower-exporter sector of the main Spanish production areas represented by FEPEX, it is estimated that as a consequence of the combination of factors mentioned, both in terms of crop damage and the delays they cause in planting new crops, Spanish supply...will be reduced 30%," it said.
"The entire supply chain is being affected."
During these months, Spain is the main produce supplier to the European market, with a market share in excess of 50% in normal conditions.