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Heat wave disastrous for Limburg’s apple crop
Orchardists in the Haspengouw region of Limburg are reporting that up to one-third of their crops have been lost to rot, due to the unprecedented temperatures reached in July. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” one apple grower told VRT.
Temperatures in Haspengouw surpassed 40 degrees last month and “cooked” the apples, an orchardist in Gingelom said. “We are very clearly feeling the effects of climate change. If it continues like this, we have no future.”
Apples that are minimally damaged can be processed into certain products, like apple juice. But badly damaged apples must be discarded, at a huge economic loss to orchardists. Even separating the less-damaged apples from the good ones requires labour costs that some growers simply cannot afford.
“There’s no profit in that,” the grower told VRT. “Then we just have to tell the pickers to throw them in the grass.”
The city of Sint-Truiden, in the middle of apple-growing territory, is asking the government of Flanders to recognise the poor harvest as the result of a natural disaster. That would mean compensation for the farmers.
Photo courtesy VRT