Italy, one of the EU’s largest producers of nuts, is facing one of its smallest harvests for some years.
Bad weather knocked almonds, particularly in the Apulia region. The situation cut 2006 production to 6,000 tonnes, 50% down on the previous year. This, in turn, is likely to impact on exports – projected at 4,500 tonnes as against 7,000 tonnes in 2005.
The Italians expect a poor pistachio harvest. Estimates released this week put this year’s crop at 3,500 tonnes.
Prospects for hazelnuts are brighter. In-shell production is forecast at 120,000 tonnes, double that of last season when adverse weather knocked crops in Campania, which accounts for a third of planted area, and Latium, which represents an additional 27%. Crops in Piedmont and Sicily were also affected.
Given this background, exports are projected to rise to 50,000 tonnes, a high percentage of which are destined for the UK and Germany.