This year, the favorite summer fruit for many may not be available for most. Continuous bad weather has generated the predicted smallest harvest in 20 years, according to the president of the Dongguan Lychee Association, Wen Wenrong.
During February and March, which is a key blossoming period for the fruit, Dongguan experienced excessive rains and repeated high and low temperatures bad for the growth of the tree. It is estimated that only 20-30 percent of nuo mi ci (one of the most popular lychee breeds) and 60-70 percent of gui wei had flowers in Dongguan. Worsening an already bad situation, April and May brought continuous rainstorms that attacked and blew down large numbers of the young fruit.
“Last year we had 14,000 tons of harvest, this year, a conservative valuation will be about 5000 tons,” said Wen. It’s anticipated that normal prices of lychee will double from the typical 6-8 RMB per jin (half a kg) of gui wei and 10 RMB per jin of nuo mi ci.
The amount of rainfall right around the time of the Dragon Boat Festival (June 9) is also crucial. If the branches are not enough protected from serious storms, ripe fruits will fall from the trees or simply break open, losing even more yield right before the harvest.