Southern Hemisphere pear production is mainly centred in Argentina, South Africa and Chile, which together export 650-700,000 tons per year, down from 730-780,000 tons, according to a report by Topinfo. Argentina and Chile have seen their exports fall by 10-20%, while South Africa’s shipments have grown by 15-20%. Argentina contributes 50% of the total Southern Hemisphere exports, followed by South Africa (30%) and Chile (20%).
Two-thirds of the southern supply used to be made up of Williams and Packhams, but the varieties have radically changed over the last decade. Similarly, the markets have changed, too. The main market for Southern Hemisphere pears used to be Europe, which received half of the shipments (now only a third), more than half of which were Williams. But as European consumers switch to other varieties, demand has fallen – only Italian consumers continue to appreciate Williams. The Southern varieties most in demand among Europeans consumers are Abate, Forelle and other bicolored pears.
Other destination markets are Latin America, particularly Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, as well as Russia, the US, Canada, the Middle East and the Far East, where export volumes have remained fairly stable over the last 10 years. Russia receives 15-20% of Southern pear shipments, followed by North America (10-12%). Asian countries are not big buyers of Southern Hemisphere pears and is not viewed as a prospective future market either.