Weekly Product Updates

W43: Strawberry Update

Fresh Strawberry
Published Nov 1, 2023

In W43 in the strawberry landscape, Egyptian fruit exports experienced a decline of 5% during the first week of Oct-23, compared to the last week of Sep-23. Fruit exports reached 22 thousand tons, with reductions in pomegranates to 10 thousand tons, mangoes to 7 thousand tons, and strawberries to 5 thousand tons during the same period. Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Italy were the primary recipients of Egyptian exports.

Storm Bernard, which recently struck Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, has caused significant damage to berry plantations in these regions, particularly affecting strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry crops. Strong winds and a sandstorm accompanying the heavy rains have led to the destruction of greenhouses and the uprooting of plants. In Morocco, raspberry plantations have suffered losses estimated at 15 to 20%, with significant damage to blueberry and strawberry crops. Despite the challenges, the price forecast for early strawberries appears positive, with fewer affordable alternatives for consumers.

Furthermore, in Morocco, Storm Bernard caused severe damage to red fruit crops, particularly in the Gharb region. Approximately 20% of the berry crop, consisting of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, was affected by the storm. Winds of up to 110 kilometers per hour damaged plastic coverings on ponds and greenhouses used for growing red fruits, of which 90% are destined for export to Europe. The damage included the deterioration and deformation of 15% of the metal structures of the ponds, the uprooting of crops, and the loss of around 20% of berry production. Additionally, a power outage lasting nearly two days in the Larache region exacerbated the situation by disrupting the irrigation system and cold storage facilities. The Moroccan Association of Red Fruit Producers and Exporters has appealed to the authorities for support to assist affected farmers. The storm, coupled with the previous season's agricultural setback due to drought, is expected to disrupt Morocco's berry exports for at least three weeks.

Lastly, strawberry prices in India are forecasted to rise during the upcoming 2023/24 season, which starts in Nov-23, due to reduced cultivation in the Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani hill stations of Satara. This decline in cultivation is primarily attributed to limited rainfall in Sep-23, resulting in approximately 2.2 thousand to 2.5 thousand hectares (ha) of strawberry cultivation compared to the usual 3 to 3.5 thousand ha in strawberry-growing villages. Around 70% of India's strawberry production originates from Mahabaleshwar, with the remaining supply coming from various states. Reduced cultivation aims to avoid a repeat of the previous season, which experienced late arrivals and lower fruit quality due to unseasonal rain during October and November. Consequently, the demand for strawberries is high, and the limited availability this season is likely to lead to higher prices, with rates exceeding USD 3.60 per kilogram (INR 300/kg) in Nov-23 and Dec-23, as per officials and growers. Growers have expressed caution in strawberry cultivation due to its delicate nature and susceptibility to damage from even light rainfall.

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