Comment: Demand for top-quality packing material remains strong. Varieties such as Golden Wonders are getting very scarce and prices have increased significantly.

As the weather improves, growers are reminded to ‘grow for their markets’ and to remain cognisant of the current market situation.

However, there is a chance that outdoor dining may recommence in May according to the most recent plan to gradually reopen the country.

In the UK, the first lifting of the outdoor crop is unlikely before Easter and may commence from 9 April onwards. Covers are being removed, but it is still cool and growth rates are slow. Planting is well under way in the south of England and Wales.

In mainland Europe, lockdown is having a weakening effect on both the processing and fresh markets, with many buyers now hesitant to commit. Prices in the fresh sector are down slightly, but are more resilient. The export market is weak, particularly for eastern Europe.