Czech fruit growers are assessing the damage from severe frosts that occurred in country in late April and early May. Initial estimates say the frost has damaged around one quarter of the country’s fruit production, with losses amounting to over 470 million crowns. Czech farmers were hit by frost for the second year in a row; last year’s losses amounted to 400 million crowns.
Night frost has mainly damaged apricots and peaches, which sustained over 80 percent fall in output. The biggest financial losses, around 270 million crowns, are expected in the production of apples, which is the main fruit commodity in the Czech Republic. Sour cherries, plums and currants have also been partly damaged by low temperatures.
The most severe frost occurred on April 21 and May 10, when temperatures plunged as low as -6 degrees Celsius in some parts of the Czech Republic. The timing of the freeze was unfortunate since many of the trees were blooming or had young fruit, which made them more vulnerable to damage. Among the hardest hit was Moravia, especially the south of the region. In Bohemia, damage was more local in character.
According to Martin Ludvík, the head of the fruit growers’ union, some of the fruit businesses are threatened after suffering for a second year in a row. Last year, the government earmarked 133 million crowns to compensate for losses. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka has already announced that the state was ready to help again this year.
The country’s fruit growers were not the only ones affected by severe frosts. Freezing weather has also damaged the country’s production of wine grapes. Initial estimates say the damage to the crop could come to half a billion crowns.
The Czech fruit growers’ union will release a more precise estimate of the losses in the course of next month.