Almond growing is a business of about $ 6 billion worldwide. However, much of the production is limited to the United States, as 80 percent of the plantations are in California. Almond production in the United States has risen from 168 million kilograms to 1.4 billion kilograms in the last 25 years, and the area planted with almond trees has increased 3.5 times over this period, Euronews.
Almonds are a real superfood because the foods made from them, especially almond milk, are becoming more and more popular. However, the price of almond kernels is constantly rising as it is becoming more and more expensive to produce. It only costs a little less in the pre-Christmas period, when the hit product is just because of the traditional almond cookies of that time.
It’s getting harder to produce
Almonds are a very sensitive plant, and the harsh weather can cause particularly great damage: prolonged droughts, sudden frosts, colds can decimate and, in extreme cases, even zero the crop. However, this and similar weather conditions have been experienced several times in the last five years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that almond yields in California could have reached a record 1.5 billion kilograms this year, but in July the ministry had already revised that estimate to 1.3 billion kilograms due to low water supply and record heat.
Unable to obtain water for themselves, some growers stopped watering the orchards and allowed the trees to become extinct. Others, however, did not irrigate their fields to save water for their almonds.
It is also produced on organic farms in Hungary
Balázs Birkás is an 83-year-old organic farmer. In addition to vegetables, it also grows almonds: it farms about 2,000 almond trees on 5 hectares in the Káli Basin (Balaton Uplands) and sells its products on the market. He planted different varieties of plants with the help of an anno tender so that the trees would not be created at the same time and would not have to be harvested at the same time. The Birkás family uses all parts of the almonds: in addition to the fruit, the green cover is composted and used for fertilization, and it is fired with its peel.
Tudatosvesked.hu Article according to him, the farmer learned the mysteries of the profession during a trip around the world. It was in this way that he became discouraged from chemical farming. In California, they had to work in a spacesuit in the gardens because they treated the trees with chemicals for easier harvesting that caused their entire canopy to fall off. In contrast, only authorized organic substances may be used in a controlled organic farm.
Climate change is a problem
The farmer also mentioned the negative effects of climate change on almond production. The almond is a very sensitive species, it is difficult to withstand the extreme weather – but in recent years, as in California and Hungary, it is not expected to improve in the future.
This year, for example, the bees on the flowering almond trees did not arrive due to cooling, there was no one to pollinate the flowers, so the crop was missed. Fortunately, the Birkás family retained some of the previous year’s or two’s harvest so that they could serve the most important customers.
Szilvia Nagyházi, who is also a farmer with 3,000 almond trees in the Káli Basin, has similar problems. He also told Tudatosvesked.hu about the problems caused by climate change. He cited as a good example that in the last 10 years the swamps in the area have become so drought that they are now cracking.
Several new fungal diseases have emerged recently, often without the knowledge of even more experienced farmers. Spraying has also become more common in almonds: while it has been enough to spray once or twice for 50 years, in recent years there has been a need for a copper wash 14-16 times, which is clearly at the expense of climate change.
However, they are looking for a solution to the situation: farmers are trying to breed more resistant varieties. Szilvia Nagyházi finds it unfortunate that there is no more research in this area, but the good news is that there are some promising individual experiments among almond growers.
Far from a breakthrough
Almonds feel good in very few parts of the world, but there are a good number of such areas in Hungary. However, climate change is making it increasingly difficult for farms to work. Hungarian almond growers have not entered the international market and are typically not present in larger retail chains.
One reason for this is that due to fluctuating yields on organic farms, producers are unable to guarantee a fixed amount from year to year, so most sell crops to private individuals. On the other hand, in addition to the current size of the farms, a better annual yield alone would not be enough to cover the domestic market and export from the Hungarian almonds. Thus, California almond dominance will certainly remain on the shelves of domestic store chains for some time to come.
The origins of almonds are to be found in Asia. The plant was already cultivated in Hungary in the 1400s, but in the 19th century. Until the end of the 19th century, it served mostly as an interest or ornament. In the last decades of the 1800s, after the phylloxera epidemic that destroyed the world’s vineyards, almond trees were planted nationwide to replace the destroyed vineyards. The next big wave of seedlings in the XX. It fell at the beginning of the 19th century, when plantations appeared in the Balaton Uplands, then in the 2nd century. after World War II, trees were planted in large quantities again. At that time it was the largest in Hungary, with about 940,000 individuals, but with this amount it accounted for barely 1 percent of our orchards at the time. Today, that rate is even lower, at a maximum of 0.2 percent. Nowadays we can find almond trees mostly in the Balaton Uplands, in the Érd-Sasadi ridge and in the Mecsek.
Source: Napi.hu by www.napi.hu.
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