Berry and fruit growers lose harvest due to cold spring in Latvia

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Last weekend, in some places in Latvia, the temperature at night dropped to -7 C. Many berry and fruit farms confirmed even 80%-90% yield losses. The industry association plans to turn to the Ministry of Agriculture for assistance, Zemgale Television reported on May 8.

“The sweet cherries are the most affected, one can see the petals are frozen, with a shade of brown all around them. The stigma was all black and everything was cold, and there will be no sweet cherries this year,” the owner of the farm "Klīves", Māris Šņickovskis, said.

Jelgava municipality farm Klīves has a total of 70 hectares, of which 18 hectares are berries and fruit trees.

The owner concludes that the fruit trees may have lost half their harvests because the frost has not spared apple trees,  cherries, pear trees, and berries. He says there is no hope for insurance claims. “We have been in contact with insurers, currently insurers are not covering frost and frost damage, only hail damage,” he said.

Šņickovskis estimated that, at least from the volumes, rapeseed had not suffered significantly, and winter wheat was only slightly frozen. But the overall amount of losses is still being calculated.

In the meantime, the fruit farmers' association notes that the biggest damage was in Vidzeme, with some farms suffering as much as 80%-90% of yield losses.The most affected were apple trees and sweet cherries.

The industry association intends to turn to the responsible ministry for assistance.

“We will write to the Ministry of Agriculture. […] Let us also address our leading organization, the Cooperation Council for Agricultural Organizations. Let us explain the whole situation, take pictures, film, and we will ask that we be granted aid and we can tidy up the garden with losses of 80-90%,” said the Latvian fruit growers' association board chairwoman Māra Rudzāte.


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