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Argentina’s apple, pear, grape exports below historical levels

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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)

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Argentina also sees recovery in apple, pear crops

Argentina’s fresh apple production is likely to rebound to 720,000 tons and pears to 650,000 tons next year, thanks to favourable weather conditions.

Argentina’s fresh apple production is likely to rebound to 720,000 tons and pears to 650,000 tons next year, thanks to favourable weather conditions.

But even so, that’s down on the ‘normal’ levels of about 900,000 and 850,000 tons respectively due to decreased planted area as a result of the economic crisis Argentine producers have faced in the past 7-8 years, says a USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The country’s apple and pear exports are forecast to increase to 130,000 tons and 310,000 tons, respectively, due to production increases and less fruit supplies in the Northern Hemisphere, and domestic consumption is expected to rise, also as a result of production increase, the report says.

Meanwhile, due to decreased planted area, table grape production is set to fall 10% to 100,000 tons, exports to drop slightly to 20,000 tons and domestic consumption to fall as a result of the lower production.

Distribution channels

GAIN says that the Argentine domestic fruit market is highly concentrated in Buenos Aires City and its suburbs, where over one third of the country’s total population lives, though the country’s government has been trying to decentralise it through the creation of a few fruit distribution markets in the interior of the country.

There are three channels for the distribution of fresh fruit:

  • large exporters from Alto Valle, who use the domestic market as a secondary outlet for their products and have hyper and supermarkets as their main customers
  • medium-sized firms handling smaller volumes and focused on quality
  • small companies handling small volumes that are distributed to pre-established points of sale in larger cities.

Challenges for Argentina’s fruit sector

GAIN said Argentina needs to improve the quality of its fruit, in order to meet the requirements of demanding export markets, and develop new apple and pear varieties. “Among the bicolor apples, only some Gala and Braeburn clones have succeeded in Argentina. Others, like Fuji, Jonagold and Elstar, did not adapt well to local conditions. Among yellow apples, Golden Delicious is the classic variety. Although it adapted well to Argentina’s production conditions, this variety has lost popularity due to marketing problems. Among the red varieties, Red Delicious is the most widespread variety. Since it is sterile, it must be crossed with other varieties such as Gala, Fuji, Elstar, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathan and Ozarkgold.

“In Argentina, many Red Delicious clones, such as Starkrimson, Red Chief, Hi Early, Top Red Delicious, Oregon Spur, or Red King Oregon and Cooper 8, have been adopted. The second most important apple variety is Granny Smith. During the past few years, a shift towards the Royal Gala variety (bicolor) has occurred as international markets are demanding fewer red varieties.

“Among the most popular pear varieties, William’s accounts for about 45% of the Argentine total pear production, followed by Packham’s Triumph with a 30% share. Other varieties are Beurre D’Anjou, Red Bartlett, Abate Fetel, Beurre Bosc, Beurre Giffard, Clapps Favourite, and Red Beurre D’Anjou,” GAIN said.

Image: “Argentina orthographic” by Addicted04 – Own work with Natural Earth DataThis vector image was created with Inkscape.. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons

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Canada moves to new, more profitable apple varieties

Many Canadian apple growers have adopted a new variety strategy as a way to improve profitability, as new varieties tend to sell at a premium price and have gained significant consumer appeal,

An interesting shift in consumer preferences in apples in Canada is outlined in a recent report by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

For decades and for generations of Canadians, McIntosh was the most popular variety of apples, according to GAIN’s 2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for Canada. But in the last decade in Ontario, which accounts for nearly 40% of all Canadians, Gala apples have cornered a 33% market share of the province’s apple growing industry and the McIntosh stands at just 12%. The Ontario Apple Growers Association reports that “one in every three apples eaten in Ontario is a Gala, most likely grown in Washington state or Chile.”

Many Canadian growers have adopted a new variety strategy as a way to improve profitability, as new varieties tend to sell at a premium price and have gained significant consumer appeal, GAIN says, citing a newspaper report that “Honeycrisp apples sell at a 50% premium.”

In Ontario, Empire now makes up about 20% of production, followed by Spy at about 15%, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp and Gala at 8-10% of production and Idared and Golden Delicious at about 5% each.

In Quebec, Cortland and Spartan account for about 8-10% each of the provincial production, followed by Empire and Paula Red at about 5%.

In Nova Scotia, Cortland comes first after McIntosh, at about 20% of production, followed by Spy and Idared at under 15% each, and Honeycrisp at about 8% of production.

And in British Columbia it is Gala, with over 40% of production, which has moved way ahead of Red Delicious (8%) and McIntosh (10%) as the most popular variety. According to the Canadian Horticulture Council, the introduction of new varieties has been particularly important in British Columbia, where growers have been planting new varieties like Spartan, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Jonagold, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia.

New plantings of Ambrosia, which apparently commands the highest premium among all apple varieties in British Columbia, have nearly doubled every year in the past five years, and the variety has been so well received by the market that producers cannot keep up with demand.

Apple imports climb, production declines in Canada

GAIN forecasts a 20% increase in Canadian imports of fresh apples, estimated at 260,000 tons for marketing year (MY) 2015/16 up from 217,000 tons during MY 2014/15. The US remains Canada’s largest supplier of fresh apples, with a stable market share of about 80%.

Canada’s fresh apple production, meanwhile, is forecast to decline by 23% in MY 2015/16, down to 290,000 tons from 374,000 tons during MY 2014/15.

“This decline is attributable to a host of weather related developments such as: a late spring frost followed by a cool and wet summer season in Ontario, a dry and hot growing season in British Columbia, and heavy winter snow and a late spring in Nova Scotia. Production in Quebec is anticipated to exceed last year’s level, supported by a very good growing season,” GAIN says.

“Over the long term, the decline in fresh apple production in Canada is consistent with reduced planted areas which, in turn, reflected the declining profitability of apple cultivation over the past decade. Data for the recent years seem to indicate that the sector has now stabilized, as growers have learned what production level is most economical and profitable.”

“Growers that intend to remain in the industry are turning to newer, more popular varieties such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp and new, modern intensive planting systems in an attempt to remain competitive with imports. Through talks with apple growers in Eastern Canada Post learned about a new trend among some producers to diversify into brewing hard cider as a way to increase profitability, a practice that has met success to date. To assist producers facing industry pressures and changing markets, Canada’s federal and provincial authorities offered replant programs between 2008 and 2010.”

source: GAIN report –2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for Canada

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EU set for lower peach, nectarine production this season

A 3.7% drop in EU peach and nectarine production – to 4 million tons – is forecast for 2015/16, while that for cherries is projected at 745,900 tons, remaining flat compared with last season, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

A 3.7% drop in EU peach and nectarine production – to 4 million tons – is forecast for 2015/16, while that for cherries is projected at 745,900 tons, remaining flat compared with last season, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Despite the Russian embargo, EU-28 exports of peaches and nectarines in 2014/15 grew 16%, while those of fresh cherries fell 10%, a new Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report – the EU-28 Stone Fruit Annual – from FAS says.

Peaches and nectarines

The main EU-28 producers of fresh peaches and nectarines are Italy, Spain, Greece and France. The production area is projected to remain stable in MY 2015/16 with 232,778 ha planted.

The 3.7% drop in MY 2015/16 peach and nectarine production for the EU-28 is due to unfavorable weather, with considerable decreases in the main European producers, Spain, Greece and France, while Italian production shows an increase.

In MY 2015/16 fresh consumption of peaches and nectarines is projected to remain flat reaching 2.8 MMT.

The EU’s exports of peaches and nectarines were valued at 390 million USD in MY 2014/15, a 9% decrease despite 16% higher volume from the previous year. Despite the Russian ban, EU- 28 exports increased in MY 2014/15 by reorienting the markets. The 12% decrease of exports to Russia were compensated with an increase of exports to other M.S. and to new markets such as North of Africa as Algeria and Brazil.

The main supplier of peaches to the EU-28 in MY 2014/15 was South Africa. Chile used to be the main supplier of peaches and nectarines to the EU-28 but in MY 2014/15 imports coming from Chile declined 60% resulting with South Africa and Morocco as main suppliers to the EU-28.

Due to lower production forecasts in MY 2015/16 imports may increase.

Cherries

The main EU-28 producers of fresh cherries are Poland, Italy, and Spain.

Spain is the biggest exporter due to its early season harvest and Italy the number one consumer of fresh cherries.

Total cherry production in MY 2015/16 is projected at 745,900 MT, remaining flat compared with last season, where the important growth in Italy and Greece could compensate the decline that may occur in Spain.

Consumption of fresh cherries in the EU is estimated at 443,023 MT in MY 2015/16, remaining stable.

The EU is a net exporter of cherries but with trade values almost balanced. These are sourced mostly from Turkey, the world’s leading cherry producer. While the main destinations for the major EU producers are other MS, the most important external destinations are Russia, Switzerland and Belarus.

New markets, such as Algeria, are showing important growth for the second year in a row surpassing Ukraine, the report said.

Source: EU-28 Stone Fruit Annual

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Vegetable prices keep climbing in Russia

Russia’s retail sector is highly dependent on imported vegetables – particularly during the off-season. In 2014, Russia imported 2.4 million tons of fruits and vegetables making it the third largest importer globally.

Fruit and vegetables prices in Russia were up 43% in February 2015 compared to the same month last year, a new report by the US Department of Agriculture says.

Titled ‘Vegetable Prices Keep Rising’, the report on the Russian Federation blames the import restriction, in combination with a depreciating ruble, for the soaring prices.

It also says many Russian consumers are buying less vegetables or switching to cheaper ones as their purchase power drops along with Russia’s weakening economy.

Russia’s retail sector is highly dependent on imported vegetables – particularly during the off-season. In 2014, Russia imported 2.4 million tons of fruits and vegetables making it the third largest importer globally.

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The report also says that the most popular vegetables for Russian consumers are cabbage (21% of total vegetables volume), tomatoes (20%), onion (13%), carrot (11%), cucumbers (10%), beets (6%), pumpkin (4%), and squash (3%).

In 2014, Russia produced 15 million metric tons (MMT) of fresh vegetables which covered around 86% of total domestic consumption needs. The vast majority of all vegetables in Russia (70%) are grown by households and do not enter modern retail channels.

The main vegetables produced in Russia, besides potatoes, are cabbage (3.4 MMT), tomatoes (2.2 MMT), onions (1.9 MMT), carrots (1.6 MMT), cucumbers (1.1 MMT), pumpkins (708,000 MT), squash (508,000 MT), and garlic (248,000 MT).

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USDA Gain report “Russia: Vegetable Prices Keep Rising

Click here to read more news about the Russian market. 
 

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USDA tips small increase in Italian orange production

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Italy’s orange crop should be up 4% on last season but there’ll be a lack of big size fruit, says the USDA’s Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) in a new report. Fruit quality is expected to be good, despite unfavorable weather, though there’ll be more small size oranges in the 2013/14 (November-October) marketing year, it said.
 

Orange consumption is likely to remain flat in Italy, where most oranges are consumed fresh, principally the blood varieties (Tarocco, Moro, and Sanguinello), GAIN said. In 2012/13, Italy imported 223,566 tons of oranges (mainly from Spain) and exported 126,083 tons (mainly to Germany).
 

Little change is expected in Italy’s tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit crops. Its tangerine production is more than 80% seedless clementines (mainly Comune or Oroval and Monreal) and the rest mandarins (mainly Avana and Tardivo di Ciaculli varieties), with very slight reductions in production but satisfactory quality forecast for both.


GAIN said Italy’s lemon-producing area (concentrated in Sicily) is gradually shrinking due to reduced profitability and consumption will probably slip 6% on last season.