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Europe braced for pear shortages

Tue 18/07/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

There may well be a shortage of pears on our shelves this year, as the European pear harvest is set to be one of the smallest for a decade, with an estimated volume of around 1.9m tons. This was reported at Interpera, the global congress for the sector’s producers and international stakeholders, which took place in Lleida, Spain.

On the basis of flowering and fruit set, Spain’s production is forecast to grow by 53 per cent to 190,600 tons of pears, Portugal’s is up by 7 per cent to 130,000 tons, and France’s is down by 26 per cent to 109,000 tons. Belgium’s volumes will grow 6 per cent to 366,000 tons, while the Netherlands and Italy have not yet calculated their exact harvest forecasts, but are making downward predictions.

In analysing each country’s prospects, Interpera revealed that Italy has had poor fruit set, significant petal fall and was suffering from the unpredictable impact of flooding which could threaten the survival of some plantations in the Romagna region.

In the Netherlands, the harvest is expected to be the same or slightly lower than in 2022/23 due to low rainfall at key times, while Belgium will see an increase thanks to good flowering, good fruit set and good size.

Variations between the various French basins are expected, with production potential “significantly reduced”, especially in the south. Portuguese grower representatives are optimistic about the good weather conditions and good fruit set, and are expecting larger sizes.

Production is set to increase in Spain enabling the country to regain its pear production potential after a poor season last year. However, doubts remain over the possible effects of the drought. Generally speaking, good sizes are expected, but in the areas affected by the drought the final size of the fruit is still uncertain.

 

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