[WATCH] Farmers blame harsh winter weather for summer fruit shortage

Last February’s freak storm that caused a lot of damage, spells of windy weather and muddy rain hindered blossoms and pollination

Despite the low yield, all the vendors have stated that the quality of the fruit has not been affected
Despite the low yield, all the vendors have stated that the quality of the fruit has not been affected
Farmers and fruit vendors explain the shortage in summer fruits

Farmers and fruit vendors have blamed last winter’s harsh weather for a shortage in this year’s summer fruit supplies.

Farmers across Malta have experienced low yields of fruits due to long windy spells and blood rain.

Head of MCAST’s Centre of Agriculture, Malcolm Borg said summer fruit production depended on the weather in the months leading up to summer.

The windy spells in spring and instances of blood rain stripped fruit trees from their blossoming flowers, while also hindering pollination, Borg explained.

Farmers and fruit vendors, we visited at Mġarr and Ta’ Qali concurred.

A farmer whose produce is mainly fruit, explained how her peach orchard was impacted, as half of her trees were decimated by the heavy rain. “A peach tree doesn’t need a lot of water, so when the rain hit us we had to remove nearly half of our trees,” she said.

Another farmer who also grows peaches, blamed winds and red rains for loosing half his yield.

“In April, we had a lot of muddy rain, which killed a lot of our peach blossoms, and we are feeling the effects now,” he said.

The farmer also explained how windy conditions which are a staple of Maltese weather, damage a lot of crops, so farmers have to brace for it throughout the whole year.

A fruit vendor at one of Mġarr’s most famous fruit shops, explained how farmers from all over the island were impacted by the damage caused by the freak February storm.

Apart from peaches, cherries and plums, he stated that grape vines are also expected to have a low yield this year.

READ ALSO: Record late harvest for grapes due to longer Maltese winter

On the other hand, a farmer who also works as a vendor in Mġarr, said that he expected a juicer batch of fruit this year because the cold weather normally keeps the buds dormant.

He also said that he has experienced a shortage in figs and prickly pears.

Despite the low yield, all the vendors have stated that the quality of the fruit has not been affected.

“I can only tell you what my customers tell me, but this year people have come over and over again, so I guess they are liking what we are selling,” she said.

Another vendor, who specialises in watermelon said that the yield in June and July was juicer and taster, as it was left to absorb more natural sugars from the soil.

“If you leave it to absorb more natural sugars from the soil, as in any other fruit, the taste is better, but on hotter days, we have to give it more water, which in turn makes the fruit slightly less tasty,” he explained.

A shopkeeper in Mġarr agreed, stating that local produce has flown off the shelf, with nothing but praise from her customers for this summer’s fruit supply.

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