On the grounds of the worrying situation concerning reports on the drought in California the Jongkind family set off for an extensive trip across the main Almond growing regions to get first-hand experience in the Californian Almond plantations. OPW already reported extensively last month in two separate reports; „It never rains in Southern California“ and „Pray for Rain“. It most certainly was not a bad April fool’s joke when the heavens opened and dark clouds covered large parts of the central valley… This we rated cautiously optimistic, though we do forewarn that we cannot become too euphoric about these rainfalls. Much depends how much (more) precipitation will really hit the main growing regions, and how much can actually be absorbed by the trees (which will then influence the nut development and yields) First photos on the current status in the growth phase are attached underneath. The international Almond market is still governed by insufficient supply: whole nuts for our PhEuro quality are still rare. Also the supply chain for organic nuts is still very tight. Even though it rained in the past 7-10 days we must expect that the prices will remain firm. Our itinerary covered well over 950 km!; we crossed the most important growing regions. From Kern traversing into Krings, Fresno, Madera, Stanislaus County and Merced all the way up to San Joaquin. The most important findings on our field trip: • The blooming phase in the Almond plantations is almost as good as completed. Now it is going to depend how much impact the drought really has had on the nut developments in terms of pollination and gestation • On todays reports this year crop will not reach the previous seasons. The 2012 / 2013 crop reached 1.85bn pounds • The continuously increasing demand from all over the world supersedes supplies, even though the area under cultivation has actually grown by more than 50% since 2007. In 2007 the crop out turn was merely 1.26bn Pounds! • Since well over 80% of the globally available Almonds stem from these counties in California we anticipate that supply will not cover global demand; this leads to firm prices! Managing Director Onno Jongkind summarized the situation as follows: „During this field visit in the main growing regions we could determine for ourselves that the total count of Almonds will not beat the previous year(s). Though we witnessed some good rainfalls large parts of California are still effected by drought. And that for the third year on a row! These deficits in precipitation are really enormous and the water reservoirs we saw en route were empty! The rainfalls in the past weeks were certainly useful; whether this water is sufficient – is written in the stars!“ With so much uncertainty in the market we advise fully cover to ensure contract cover.