Argentina’s fresh apple and pear crops are estimated at 590,000 tons and 600,000 tons, respectively, as the decline in planted area continues. Fruit quality and calibre were negatively affected by poor growing conditions (excess rain, hail and high humidity). According to USDA data, exports are expected to be down to 90,000 tons for apples and 290,000 tons for pears, as a result primarily of the large Northern Hemisphere crops and the lower competitiveness of Argentine exports. These drops in production follow on from a 2017/18 season in which output rose from 520,000 to 560,000 tons for apples and from 550,000 to 580,000 tons for pears.
Apple and pear production is concentrated in Patagonia’s Upper Valley of the provinces of Rio Negro (85%) and Neuquen (12%), with the other 3% located in the Valle de Uco in Mendoza. The main apple varieties are Red Delicious (64%), Granny Smith (14%), Gala (13%), and Cripps Pink/Pink Lady (6%), while the main pear varieties grown are Packham’s Triumph (41%), D’Anjou (24%), Williams (16%), Abate Fetel (6% percent), and Bosc (5% percent) (Source: Top Info Marketing S.A.). Around 11% of the 42,000 hectares of apples and pears are certified as organic.
Hail storms, blooming difficulties and an ongoing decline in planted area have seen USDA forecasts for Argentina’s production of apples this year revised down to 640,000 tons and that for fresh pears to 580,000 tons.
Exports are revised down to 105,000 tons for apples and revised up to 330,000 tons for pears.
“The severe economic and financial crisis which has been affecting the local fruit sector during the past few years has contributed to decreased planted area for both fruits,” says the USDA GAIN report Argentina: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Semi-annual.
It also says Argentina’s table grape production for the 2016 calendar year is projected to decrease drastically to 60,000 tons – a 40% decrease from official estimates – due to less competitiveness of local companies in export markets, and the conversion of table grape areas to raisin production.
The country’s table grape export forecast has been revised down to 11,000 tons.
“Exports of all three types of deciduous fruit are estimated to remain lower than historical levels as a result of lost competitiveness and stressed demand due to economic problems in major export markets, such as devaluation in Russia and Brazil.”
However, amid volatile export markets, the US remains a reliable market for Argentine apples and pears, the report says.
Souce: USDA GAIN report Argentina: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Semi-annual: Apples, Pears, and Table Grapes (5/31/2016)