China’s fruit imports continue their sustained growth despite the pandemic, reaching 7.03 million tons in 2021, up 11.5% YoY. However, the value of China’s fruit exports fell by 14.9% YoY to US$5.43 billion, while in volume terms, they were down 8.3% to 3.5 million tons. Overall, China runs a net deficit in its fruit trade, and this is getting larger.
Slow production growth
China’s fruit production area has not grown quickly enough over the past 10 years to satisfy the rising domestic demand. Between 2010 and 2021, China’s fruit production acreage increased at an annual rate of 1.55%, while production increased at a rate of 3.29% per year. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s fruit production reached 287 million tons in 2020, an increase of 4.7%. Citrus contributed 51.2 million tons, accounting for 17% of the total, while apple production totalled 44.1 million tons (15%). The country’s fruit planting area was up by 3%, with 2.8 million ha of citrus, accounting for 22% of the total, and 2 million ha of apples (15%).
Constant double-digit growth
China’s demand for fresh fruit has grown at a fast pace in the past decade, and in the coming decade, both production and demand are expected to continue their growth. The Chinese economy has maintained high-speed growth, stimulated by rises in industrial output, imports and exports, consumer consumption and capital investment for over two decades. However, in 2022, the economic slowdown and the latest pandemic restrictions at Shanghai port may have a dampening effect on the dynamic fruit market.