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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 09.07.2020, 17:13

Heat and drought can reduce fruit harvest by at least 40% in 2018 in Latvia

BC, Riga, 13.06.2018.Print version
As a result of the prolonged period of heat and drought in Latvia this year's fruit harvest is likely to decrease by at least 40%, LETA was told at the Council for Cooperation between the Agriculturalist Organizations (LOSP).

The organization's representatives said that fruit growers suffered substantial losses already from last spring's frosts and heavy raining in the fall, which decimated the harvest. The cold and wet summer of 2017 hampered the development of the fruit harvest and warm weather in December 2017 caused billberries to blossom prematurely.

"The plants that were already damaged last year have been further destroyed by one of the driest Mays in Latvia on meteorological records. The gardens are withering and those plants that can still resist the drought are dropping their fruit, while those that remain are small and of unpredictable quality. Furthermore, the dry and hot weather fosters the breeding of insects. The industry is thus suffering significant losses for the second year in a row. According to the Latvian fruit growers' estimates, even if the drought subsides, the losses will exceed 40%," said Mara Rudzate, head of the LOSP gardening group.

LOSP board chairman Edgars Treibergs noted that in the case of orchards, one culture cannot be quickly replaced with other to cut losses as it can be done with grain crops or vegetables.

Estimates by the Latvian Fruit-Growing Association suggest that the hot and dry weather has been affecting all kinds of fruit across Latvia regardless of the region. The fruit-growers expect to lose 90% of the cranberries harvest, 40 to 50% of the apple and pear harvest, 50 to 80% of sweet cherries, 40% of billberies, 60% of strawberries and around 70% of other berries like currants, blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries.

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