W28: Strawberry Update

In W28 in the strawberry landscape, strawberry farms from Maine, United States (US), faced production challenges and lower business early in the season due to late freezes and wet weather. However, better weather towards the end of the season helped some farms make up for losses in production and sales. Despite this improvement, overall yields and business remained down. On the other hand, the frozen fruit industry in Chile has seen significant growth in the past decade, with exports reaching 140 thousand metric tons (mt) and USD 537 million in shipments in 2021. Frozen blueberries led the most exported product, followed by strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The COVID-19 pandemic increased consumer preference for frozen fruit due to its cleanliness and safety. The main destination markets for Chilean frozen fruits are the United States, Canada, and Asia. The industry faces challenges related to inventory fluctuations and competition from other countries. However, investments in technology and innovation, such as mechanical harvesting, have helped increase productivity and profitability. The industry is optimistic about its future growth, especially in emerging markets like China and India, as retail and food service sectors develop.

The Minister of Agriculture and Development of Poland announced that the Polish authorities requested the European Commission (EC) to impose import bans on frozen strawberries and raspberries from Ukraine. The request aims to address concerns about the impact of Ukrainian imports on Poland's domestic agricultural sector.

Lastly, in Huelva, Spain, strawberry exports in the 2022/23 season declined by 10% compared to the previous season due to adverse weather conditions. During key periods of the season, heatwaves and cold snaps caused extensive damage to the crop. Despite an increase in prices by 0.22% until the end of May, the overall profitability for growers dropped due to increased production costs and a shorter crop. Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) remain the primary destinations for berries from Huelva, with France and the Netherlands also contributing significantly to shipments.

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