Thailand running at 50% of capacity; civil unrest and port congestion in Philippines Availability of pineapple is causing serious problems for importers. They have been trying to cover shortages in Thailand and the Philippines by switching to Swaziland and South Africa. Problems first occurred in Thailand following serious flooding in April when canneries were closed due to lack of raw material. Although some supplies have been getting through, production is running at 50% of normal capacity. One of the largest producers is only achieving a throughput of 100 tonnes a day compared with normal productivity of 400 tonnes. Similar problems have occurred in the Philippines where civil unrest and port congestion have added to the supply difficulties. Prices have risen sharply but with little or no product getting through, some major supermarkets have reported Philippine stocks running out. Hopes South Africa could fill the gap were dashed when the few excess stocks were cleared and offers withdrawn. Importers predict that the shortage will prevail until the end of the year as Thailand will not get back to normal production until the new crop starts in early October. Reports from Spain and Italy suggest that a delay in shipment of pineapple for fruit cocktail could delay packing, although these have been dismissed as rumours. A source in Italy said: "Packers will already have their stocks of pineapple in store ready for the season, which is about to start. "There do not appear to be any carryover stocks from last season and prices are expected to be higher, but so far there have been no offers." {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}