The Southern Hemisphere exported 1.315 billion tons of grapes in the 2019/20 marketing year. Even though the Southern Hemisphere 2019-20 grape campaign was hit by the effects of the pandemic, by adapting rapidly, export levels remained fairly stable. Patented varieties are making significant progress compared to classic varieties. Peru’s growth continues, while Chile’s crop was smaller due to adverse weather, political and commercial conditions.
Chile is still the undisputed number one, but its primacy has been challenged in recent years. Chile’s share had dropped from 70% to around 45%. Climatic, structural, and commercial problems complicated business for the Chilean grape sector. Despite this, around 600,000 tons were exported, a volume only slightly lower than the previous year. New varieties and improvements in driving managed to partially compensate for the drought decline. The main market continues to be the US, which traditionally receives half of exports. Chilean companies have a long tradition and experience in the North American market and strong commercial ties with importers and large retail chains. This has not changed substantially in recent years. There was greater movement in the other destinations. Chile partially withdrew from Europe, having importance only towards the end of the campaign. Also Russia no longer buys the volumes of other years. But in contrast, Chile grew in Asia, a continent to which it sends a third of its shipments. With regard to varieties, Chile has reduced its dependence on Thompson and Flame Seedless. These contributed 40% of the shipments 10 years ago but currently only account for 18%. The share of Crimson and Red Globe has remained steady at 22% and 25% respectively. However, patented varieties have seen their exports double in the last year. Despite this progress, Chile was one of the last Southern Hemisphere countries to incorporate them.
In the 2019/20 campaign, Peru set a new export record of almost 400,000 tons. Part of the success is due to the strong shift in production towards new varieties. Initially, Peru produced Red Globe, a variety that contributed 80% of exports. But thanks to a great reconversion effort, the country no longer depends on the Globe Network, which currently only contributes a third of exports. Within the classics, Sugraone and Crimson are also major varieties. But patented ones like Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, Jack’s Salute, Timpson, and Allison have seen great progress, with exports increasing by 30-90% during the last year. These 5 contributed 24% of shipments in 2019/20.
The 2019/20 EU orange crop is predicted to fall 9% from 2018/19 to 6.2 million tons, according to FAS data. The drop is the result of the heavy rains that hit Spain’s main growing regions of Valencia and Andalusia during the spring and autumn. In line with the reduced output, EU orange juice production is estimated to be down 21% to 83,724 tons. Meanwhile, the EU tangerine production is expected to be down 14% to 2.7 million tons, following a 23.8% predicted slump in the Spanish crop. Since 2010, the EU’s total orange and tangerine planted areas have contracted by nearly 13% 8% respectively, as citrus producers focus on yield and quality.
Spain and Italy account for 80% of the EU’s total orange output. Spain’s crop is predicted to shrink by 15.2% to 3.3 million tons. During the first 16 weeks of 2020, the average Spanish orange price reached €0.73/kg compared to €0.63/kg during the same period last year. The average price paid to orange farmers peaked at €0.31/kg due to the shortage in supplies and strong domestic and export demand triggered by the lockdown. Over the last decade, Spain’s planted area has contracted by 9% to 139,132 ha, but is still the largest in the EU.
Italy is the second largest European orange producer, with Sicily and Calabria the main production areas, accounting for approximately 63% and 19% of total production, respectively. The country’s 2019/20 crop is projected to remain stable compared to the previous season. The main varieties grown are Tarocco, Moro, Sanguinello, Naveline, and Valencia, while Ippolito and Meli are gaining popularity.
The EU’s 2019/20 grapefruit crop is estimated to be down 11% to 96,000 tons, according to FAS Madrid. The main producer Spain expects its output to shrink by 15.5% to 68,100 tons. Ruby Red is the main grapefruit variety planted in Spain. Cyprus is the second largest grapefruit producer in the EU, with the main variety being White Marsh Seedless, mostly grown in the Limassol area.
The EU is a net importer of grapefruits, with overseas production accounting for about 75% of the EU’s total grapefruit supply. In 2018/19, the EU’s imports dropped 13% to 324,603 tons, valued at US$285 million. China, South Africa, Turkey and Israel are the leading suppliers to the EU market. Imports are predicted to rise in 2019/20 to offset the smaller EU crop.
In 2018/19, EU grapefruit exports fell 7% to 16,255 tons, worth $17 million. The main destinations are Switzerland, Ukraine, and Belarus. Despite an expected smaller EU crop in 2019/20, grapefruit exports are forecast to increase slightly, as indicated by the trend of the first six months of the marketing year.
South Africa’s 2019/20 grapefruit output is estimated to be up 4% to 387,000 tons, according to CGA data. The good crop is due to normal weather conditions, an increase in area planted and improved yields. Also, grapefruit production is cyclical, and 2018/19 MY was a down year. Grapefruit is normally harvested between March and September, and the impact of COVID-19 on production, harvest and labour has been minimal to date.
South Africa’s grapefruit exports are projected to grow by 5% to 270,000 tons this campaign, due to the larger crop, normal fruit sizes and suitable colouring for export market. Citrus has seen a surge in demand due to the assumed benefits of Vitamin C in boosting immunity against COVID-19. However, the impact of COVID-19 on consumer incomes, constraints on shipping lines and containers, and port restrictions remains a concern for South African exports. Europe is the largest market for South African grapefruit exports, accounting for 48% of total exports in 2019, followed by Asia (35%). Although South Africa has a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) which allows duty-free access for its citrus exports, South Africa continues to face challenges due to Citrus Black Spot (CBS) and False Coddling Moth (FCM) in the EU market. Industry estimates that it is costing South Africa almost R1.8 Billion (US$97 Million) to address and comply with the CBS requirements in the EU market. Meanwhile, grapefruit exports to the US have been growing sharply in the past 5 years at an average of 65% per annum, from 76 tons in 2012/13 to 5,347 tons in 2018/19. Around 29% of the country’s total grapefruit output is used for processing. The volume destined for processing in 2019/20 is expected to increase by 3% to 110,000 tons, in line with the larger crop.
The 2019/20 global apple crop is projected to be up 7% to 75.8 million tons, as China rebounds from last year’s frost-hit campaign, more than offsetting plummeting production in the EU, according to USDA/FAS data. Despite higher supplies, exports are estimated to be lower due to reduced shipments from the EU, Moldova, and Turkey. China’s production is expected to jump 24% to a near-record level of 41.0 million tons.
Despite disruptions due to COVID-19, China’s apple exports are expected to surpass 1.0 million tons, returning the country to the position of the world’s top exporter. Higher supplies prompted greater shipments in the first half of the marketing year, especially to Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand. Despite higher supplies, imports are also up 24% to 115,000 tons, due to the lower volumes of high-quality domestic apples.
EU apple production is predicted to fall by almost a quarter to 11.5 million tons due to adverse weather conditions in most Member States, especially Poland. This constitutes the second severe loss in three years. Lower supplies will reduce exports to 1.0 million, while imports are also estimated lower at 470,000 tons due to smaller shipments from Southern Hemisphere suppliers.
The global 2019/20 grape crop is projected to grow 4% to 23.4 million tons, thanks to rebounding China supplies, according to USDA/FAS data. However, exports are expected to shrink slightly as lower shipments from India and the US more than offset gains from China and Mexico. China’s output is predicted to climb 9% to 10.8 million tons, as vineyards recover from last year’s severe frost. Rebounding supplies are expected to drive exports to a record 360,000 tons, as higher shipments to the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam facilitate China’s continuing upward trend. Imports are estimated to drop 7% to 235,000 tons on reduced shipments from top suppliers Chile, Peru, and the US. Small shipments from the EU have started to arrive following the recent market access for Spanish and Portuguese grapes. Nevertheless, the US remains China’s top Northern Hemisphere supplier.
EU production is expected to drop 14% to 1.4 million tons due to damaging rains during flowering in Italy. Exports are expected to remain flat at 75,000 tons. Despite lower supplies, imports are estimated to shrink slightly to 675,000 tons as reduced shipments from India, Peru, and Brazil more than offset gains from Egypt and Turkey. Reduced output is anticipated to drive consumption to its lowest level since 2001/02.
The world’s pear output in the 2019/20 campaign is projected to rise 12% to 23.0 million as rebounding output in China more than offsets weather-induced losses in the EU, according to data published by the USDA/FAS. The increased supply is expected to boost exports. China’s production is estimated to jump 21% to 17 million tons, indicating a full recovery from last year’s severely weather-ravaged season. Revived supplies are projected to drive exports up nearly 60% to 580,000 tons on elevated shipments in the first half of the marketing year, particularly to Thailand and Malaysia. Imports are predicted to remain stable at 11,000 tons.
EU production is estimated down 15% to 2.2 million due to fruit damage. Brown marmorated stinkbugs impacted production in top grower Italy, while many Member States suffered weather-related losses. Exports are expected to shrink slightly to 295,000 tons as reduced supplies are directed towards overseas markets and fresh consumption, while processing will plunge by over 50% to 250,000 tons.
Russia’s production is forecast to rise slightly to 245,000 tons due to higher-yielding non-commercial or house-hold orchards, which account for over 90% of domestic production. Imports are expected to continue their decline, falling 30% to 190,000 tons, as losses from Belarus and China more than offset improved shipments from Argentina, South Africa, and Turkey. This will make Russia no longer the world’s top pear importer, slipping behind Indonesia.
Although Argentina’s 2019/20 fresh apple and pear productions are projected to decrease to 480,000 tons and 550,000 tons respectively, the lower fruit supply in the Northern Hemisphere is set to boost exports during this campaign, according to USDA data. Apple exports are forecast at 100,000 tons and pear exports are projected to reach 300,000 tons.
Argentine apple and pear exports are primarily destined to overseas markets in the Northern Hemisphere (mainly Russia, the EU, and the US) in the first half of the year, while later in the year, exports are oriented toward Mercosur countries (mainly Brazil) and other Latin American markets. The United States is a relatively stable market for Argentine apples and pears, especially for organic products. For 2018/19, exports totalled 111,000 tons (+15.9%) for apples and pear exports reached 310,000 tons (-3.2%) (Source: USDA).
The main apple varieties in production are Red Delicious (64%), Granny Smith (14%), Gala (13%), Cripps Pink/Pink Lady (6%) and others (3%). The main pear varieties are Packham’s Triumph (41%), D’Anjou (24%), Williams (16%), Abate Fetel (6%), Bosc (5%), and others (8%). (Source: Top Info Marketing S.A.)
Chile’s table grape planted area in 2019/20 remained stable at 47,834 ha, as did production (835,000 tons) despite the country going through an 11-year drought period, which has intensified in MY2019/20. According to USDA estimates, Chile exports around 80% of all table grape production. Grape exports for the 2019/20 season are forecast to reach 657,000 tons, practically unchanged from 2018/19.
The United States is the main market for Chilean table grape exports, accounting for 63% of the total. In 2019/20, Chile’s table grape exports to the US reached 200,515 tons (data until March), up 3.5% over 2018/19. China is the second largest market for Chilean grapes. Exports up to March totalled 30,669 tons, up 5.2% over 2018/19. Exports to China are projected to continue to grow as Chilean fruit exporters focus ever greater proportions of their promotion funds and marketing efforts on reaching that lucrative market.
Chile’s 2019/20 apple and pear crops are projected to fall due to a decline in planted area and drought. Fresh apple exports are expected to total 650,000 tons, down 3.5%, while fresh pear exports will drop 11% to 117,000 tons, according to USDA data. The top markets for Chilean apples are Ecuador and Colombia. Fresh Chilean apple exports to the US were down 23.2% due to the larger US crop.
Chilean apple exporters are currently focusing their marketing efforts on Asian markets where they hope to secure higher prices. Drought conditions in 2019/20 limited production volumes. The Maule region, which represents 60% of the apple planted area, has seen shrinkage of 3.4% for the past three campaigns. However, the main reason for the decreasing trend in apple planted area is the crop’s low profitability compared to alternative crops such as cherries, walnuts, hazelnuts and blueberries, for which demand is high on world markets.