EU cherry production set to rise 30%

Thu 20/09/2018 by Richard Wilkinson

EU cherry production in 2018/19 is projected at 793,000 tons, marking a remarkable 30% rise on last season’s figures, due in particular to strong growth in Poland and Germany. The latest FAS data shows that total EU planted area for cherries is around 158,000 ha. In the main producing regions of France, there were reports of heavy pest and fungal infestation, especially Drosophila Suzukii and Moniliosis. France’s 2016 decision to ban a pesticide (Dimethoate) efficient against Drosophila Suzukii has increased crop losses.

EU consumption of fresh cherries is expected to rise to around 481,000 tons in 2018/19, with cherries for processing also likely to return to normal levels thanks to the EU’s largest cherry processor, Poland, stepping up production once more.

In the last two years, the EU has become a net importer of cherries, mainly from Turkey, the world’s leading cherry producer. In 2017/18, EU imports of fresh cherries dropped 17% to 49,000 tons. As a result of lower EU cherry production in 2017, the US recovered its position as the fourth largest third country supplier of cherries to the EU, with exports worth US$9.4 million. However, in 2018/19, EU cherry imports are likely to drop as a result of the increase in EU cherry production.

EU fresh cherry exports plummeted 44% in 2017/18 to 14,000 tons (US$30 million). This is the lowest level of exports in the last five years. The main destination markets in 2017/18 were Serbia, Switzerland and Belarus. The Russian ban on EU imports is thought to have cost EU cherry producers US$41 million.

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