As the new season's 3kg solid pack apple production begins, prices are expected to be about 10% up on those of last year. This is partly down to a shortage of stock and a firmer farm policy by Italian growers. The quality is expected to be good, although reports this week of unexpected storm damage have been circulated among exporters. The reports are discounted by UK buyers, who say that by some quirk of nature, Italy regularly suffers rain damage just as the apple crop is being harvested. {{PROVISIONS }}