RASPBERRY 2023 harvest: WHAT is harvested, WHO harvests it and at WHAT price?

The raspberry harvest is approaching, and the producers are wondering if they will have anything to harvest this season due to unfavorable weather conditions. In addition, although the purchase price of raspberries is not officially known, it is speculated that it will be drastically lower compared to the previous season. Due to the high purchase prices during the past season, many small buyers are in a problem: if they failed to market the raspberries, they were not even able to pay the agreed amounts to the producers. When everything is taken into account, a very uncertain year is on the horizon, and Milija, a raspberry grower from the Aril region, told us the details and all the worries.

In what environment do raspberry growers welcome the new harvest?

“The situation is a bit complicated, specific because of the price of raspberries, because of everything. Demand has dropped a bit on the market, the payment of last year’s raspberries is also a problem, the cold storers don’t have enough funds to pay and automatically withdraw 100 other problems, we can’t enter the season as we should and as planned. Another thing, the weather conditions, as you can see, only make the work more difficult. The conditions are a bit strange for this year, we had that late frost at the beginning of this year which already in the lower areas caused damage to the raspberry shoots for this year. So that the producers will feel safe in the crop and in everything, except for certain parts where there was no such frost. But for the most part it is, so problems are already on the horizon,” Milija claims.

What is the damage from rain and hail?

As Milija states, there was a lot of rain in the previous days, but in many places there was also hail. It seems that the worst damage from the hail was in the vicinity of Požega, Užice and Čačak, while this weather event still bypassed the Aril region. After the heavy rainfall, the water has not receded yet, so it is difficult to estimate the extent of the damage at this moment. As Milija states, the real threat is the new rainfall that has been announced, because the producers will not be able to enter the raspberries and protect them due to the waterlogged soil.

What is the situation regarding the workforce?

“There is labor force, it’s not that there isn’t any. Everyone was hoping for those daily wages from last year, which probably the vast majority will not be able to pay this year as they were paid last year, because it was a little unrealistic.

This year, an extremely low purchase price is announced for the producers, so the workers will certainly suffer, because the prices of daily wages will be lower than last year. The price that is being talked about is 3000 to 4000 dinars, the maximum daily wage that will be this year. Although, we still don’t know that purchase price. Many have already given up, they won’t even buy raspberries since they can’t, they weren’t even able to pay last year, so they gave up in order not to get into debt. So it was announced that it would be a very low purchase price. It’s not a great situation,” Milija confirms.

What is the situation with the payment of last year’s crop?

Most of it has been paid, but there is a lot left that people are not able to pay at all, who did not sell the raspberry at all. And now, a certain percentage of people will remain unpaid… how, what, whether someone will help them with the payments, is the question. This is not small money at all, it was a high purchase price and it is a huge problem to pay people, especially those who did not sell raspberries. It’s not a naive situation at all. These larger refrigerated trucks have paid off for the most part. “They haven’t paid everything and not all of them, but it’s going a little bit better, they will probably manage to pay off the current ones by the harvest,” Milija claims.

When asked if there is a chance that the same situation with debts to producers will repeat itself this season, Milija believes that the problem will not be so big this season. As he says, the refrigerated trucks will go into debt, but he believes that the payments will go faster considering that it is a lower purchase price, and therefore smaller amounts of money.

Source: Agromedia by www.agromedia.rs.

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