The first Facebook comments right after the event read “A disaster for cherries!”, “We are worried for all crops”, “May shouldn’t be like this, what happened to the seasons?”.
“Ferrovia cherries were hit too! Game over!”. (Photo: Facebook)
A grower said that “losses for the Ferrovia cultivar in Conversano reach 60-80%, while 30% of the Giorgia variety has been damaged. In Casamassima and Acquaviva, the few cherries that survived the first wave of bad weather have been completely destroyed.”
The effects of the water, cold temperatures and humidity on table grapes will be visible only in a few days. “At the moment, the fruit is looking healthy. We are ready to deal with any problems and avoid the mistakes of 2014 (when downy mildew developed).”
Cherries from Apulia represent 40% of the total domestic production. Other crops and structures were also damaged. Cia Puglia asked the region’s governor Michele Emiliano and councillor for agriculture Leonardo di Gioia to create a technical panel, while PD MPs Dario Ginefra and Colomba Mongiello requested recognition of a natural disaster.
The greatest damage was recorded in the Bari and BAT provinces. Orchards in Turi, Castellana Grotte, Putignano, Conversano, Corato, Ruvo di Puglia, Molfetta, Bisceglie have been the worst hit. Damages have been estimated at between 70 (in the Corato, Molfetta, Ruvo area) and 100% (in the remaining area). The rain and hail also damaged other crops in Rutigliano, Casamassima, Andria, San Ferdinando di Puglia and rinitapoli.
“Our producers are trying to save what they can, trying to dry what’s left of the cherries to prevent mould,” explain Coldiretti Puglia president Gianni Cantele.
“The Ciliegia Day of the Campagna Amica market was the occasion to finally make consumers taste the Ferrovia cherries that survived despite what happened.”