Cold weather at the end of January has led to late harvesting of European peaches and nectarines for the second season in succession.
Total volumes are still slightly higher than last year’s, at some four million tonnes - including fruit for processing - so no shortages are expected.
However, according to trade sources, arrivals may have been delayed by a fortnight and consequently significant amounts of fruit are unlikely to be on these shores until around May 25.
While Spain appears to have felt the brunt of the cold weather, volumes there are still substantial due to a wave of planting over the past ten years. This means volumes will reach 1.1 million tonnes this year, compared with 900,000 tonnes last year, when similar weather conditions took a greater toll.
In France, volumes will remain unchanged on last year at 400,000 tonnes.
Greece continues to make a comeback after the catastrophe of 2003, when it lost 90% of production to cold weather. Yields are on course to be similar to last season’s, with a high proportion of fruit going to processing.
The summer continues to be dominated by Italy as the EU’s largest producer. Volumes should reach 1.5 million tonnes, 10% lower than last year’s record crop.