Severe adverse weather conditions hit the top producing apricot state in Spain during the last week of March and the start of April. The heavy rainfall devastated large planting areas, devoted to various fruits and vegetables, including apricots, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and melons. According to market participants, the storms are likely to have caused damage to up to 70% of apricot production in the region of Murcia, with some farmers forced to write off the entire season. Heavy rainfall caused rotting and root suffocation, meaning the crops are no longer suitable for harvesting this season, and thus will need to be disposed of. Hailstorms impacted apricot production the most, destroying the fruits and damaging trees.
Harvesting for the early season apricot varieties was due to commence in April, however, the storm prevented this from occurring. Consequently, output for the 2021/22 season is estimated to decline, which is likely to exert upward pressure on Spanish apricot prices. Market sources say it is too early to quantify the damage, yet losses are estimated to be in the millions. The price of Spanish apricots reached EUR 3.5/Kg on the week of the 27th of April, stable week-on-week (w-o-w), but up 16.7% year-on-year (y-o-y).