Italy: Up to 70% of kiwifruit production damaged by frosts in major growing area

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Italy: Up to 70% of kiwifruit production damaged by frosts in major growing area

Severe frosts that hit much of Europe in late April are estimated to have damaged up to 70% of kiwifruit production in a major Italian growing area, according to one researcher.

Gianni Tacconi, a researcher with the Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis (Crea), told Fresh Fruit Portal that low temperatures from April 20-22 appear to have severely affected growers in the Lazio region, where around 30% of national production is based.

"There are about 6,000 hectares of kiwifruit both yellow and green between Latino [in Lazio] and Rome, and the damage is about 60-70%," he said.

"There are some orchards that have 100% damage, and there are some places where there is no damage, especially in the higher areas."

He added that male plants were generally less affected than the smaller female plants.

Anti-hail nets were able to provide some degree of protection in certain cases, but the situation differs depending on the area.

In general, yellow kiwifruit varieties had just started the flowering period when the frosts hit, while the green cultivars were a few days away from flowering.

Tacconi said there had also been damage in the country's second most productive region of Piedmont, with damage estimates ranging from 10-30%.

Recently Fresh Fruit Portal reported that apple growers based in the north of the country had also been hit by the frosts, with varying damage estimates.



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