The global peach and nectarine crop is estimated to fall 5% to 21.0 million tons, due to adverse weather conditions in top producers China and the EU, according to USDA/FAS data. The reduced harvest is expected to lower global exports.
After the bumper 2019 crop, the EU’s 2020 harvest is predicted down 15% to 3.5 million tons, due to a variety of damaging weather events in leading producers Spain, Italy, Greece, and France. In addition, a saturated market in recent years has led to reduced planted area in Spain, Italy, and France, with Spain shifting some production towards tree nuts. Exports are forecast down 13% to 155,000 tons. However, imports are only marginally up as domestic supplies can meet most local demand.
In China, heavy snow in April caused damage during fruit set and is expected to the crop by 3% to 14.5 million tons. Exports are projected to plummet 33% to 80,000 tons as Russia continues its ban on imports of fruit from China. Russia was China’s third-largest market until August 2019, when phytosanitary concerns led to a ban. China’s imports are expected forecast up jump 40% to 38,000 tons, with much of the rise due to greater shipments from Chile before COVID-19 disruptions had an impact.
Turkey’s peach and nectarine crop is forecast to grow 5% to 870,000 tons in the 2020/21 campaign, according to Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkSTAT). Exports are increasing due to the large production volumes and the strong demand from the Russian and EU markets. Turkey continues to be among the top ten exporters in the world for peaches and nectarines. Farmers in major growing areas are generally satisfied with the yields and quality of their crop thanks to favourable weather conditions during the blooming and harvest period. Most of the peach varieties planted in Turkey are Early Amber, Spring Crest, May Crest, Red Haven and Early Red.
Planting area for peach production in Turkey continues to increase due to new investments for the export market and juice industry in the last decade. The total estimated number of all peach and nectarine trees was about 21 million in 2019. The total number of bearing trees increased from 14 million in 2009 to 17.4 million in 2019.
Use of peaches/nectarines for processing is forecast at 130,000 tons in 2020/21, similar to 2019/20. Approximately 15% of all peach production is used for juice. Turkish consumers prefer fruit juices of peach, cherry and apricot in “nectar” form. Nectars are very popular, but there is also a growing trend for 100% fruit juices. Peaches are also used to make canned products, marmalades, and are sold as frozen fruit.
Turkey is one of the largest exporters of stone fruit in the world, exporting over 250,000 tons annually, with the majority going to EU countries and Russia. Turkish exporters are also looking for opportunities for stone fruits such as cherries in the Far East, particularly China in recent years. Turkey exported 884 tons of fresh stone fruit to China in 2019.
Taiwan is expected to import up to 15,000 tons of peaches and nectarines in 2020, mainly from the US and Chile, according to USDA data. Taiwan’s own domestic peach and nectarine crop is forecast to be up 18% to 19,000 tons in 2020 thanks to generally favourable growing condition and orchards reaching maturity. Taichung and Taoyuan remain the largest producing regions, accounting for almost 80% of domestic production. Taoyuan mainly produces early sweet varieties, including honey peaches at the higher altitudes.
The Taiwanese are among the world’s largest fruit consumers. Wholesale chains have a strong preference for imported products because of their competitive prices compared to domestic production. Both the local sweet peaches and the honey peaches are considered premium fruits due to their taste and appearance. The honey peach is a local variety that stays on the tree until the end of the season when the weather gets colder and the sugars increase rapidly and the acids decrease. They often sell for ten times the price of regular peaches in retail.
Still, both the imported and domestic peaches from Taiwan are highly dependent on consumer whims. They will not hesitate to buy the most price-competitive fruit, but are not brand loyal. Total fruit consumption therefore continues to grow, but there is little loyalty to a particular variety.
Meanwhile, cherry imports are slightly higher than last year, at 12,000 tons, with few negative Covid-related effects observed on consumption patterns.
Japan’s 2020/21 cherry crop is expected to recover from a difficult 2019/20 season, but unfavourable weather conditions are set to lead to a smaller peach harvest, according to FAS/Tokyo. In 2019/20, Japan imported 4,152 tons of fresh cherries, worth US$40 million. The United States supplied 95.3% of all Japan’s cherry imports. Japan’s imports of sweet cherries are projected to increase by 1% to 4,200 tons from 2019/20 levels due to steady consumption and a recently reduced tariff for sweet cherries. Japan does not import sour cherries, and its cherry exports are negligible (approximately 1 ton).
Japan imports no peaches and the US is the sole exporter of fresh nectarines to Japan. In 2019/20, Japan imported 186 tons of US nectarines. In light of the small shipping volumes and higher freight charges due to COVID-19-related flight reductions, FAS/Tokyo forecasts Japan’s 2020/21 imports to decrease by 14% to 160 tons.
In line with Japan’s 2014 national policy, Japan Revitalization Strategy, to increase agricultural exports to 1 trillion yen (approximately US$10 billion) by 2020, Japan has been gradually increasing fresh peach exports. Due to the higher price for Japanese peaches in foreign markets compared to Japan, Japan’s peach exports continued to increase even when peach production took a downturn in 2019/20. In 2019/20, Japan exported 1,780 tons of peaches, worth about US$17 million. The main markets were Hong Kong (72.2%)and Taiwan (20.4%). FAS/Tokyo forecasts export volume to decrease by 15.7% to 1,500 tons in 2020/21 due to political instability in Hong Kong and high air freight charges due to COVID-19.
ACN Naoussa has launched NaouGusta, the new premium line of PDO peaches and nectarines for the consumer who appreciates a high-quality product: “The NaouGusta line includes the famous Naoussa PDO peaches and nectarines, fruits carefully selected for their high quality and superior standards, characterised by their attractive and immediately recognisable packaging. These fruits are stored in our cells to preserve their taste and colouring,” said director Thanos Economou. After a promotion period with Greek retailers, the cooperative’s range of products is now mainly destined for foreign markets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Founded in 1927 when 50 producers of the Naoussa region founded one of Greece’s first cooperatives, ACN Naoussa is made up of 1,457 producers who supply over 25,000 tons of fresh fruit per year. Each associated company specialises in a particular product, including peaches and nectarines, kiwis, apricots, apples and plums.
Global peach and nectarine harvest is expected to set a new record of 22.3 million tons in 2019 (+10%), as orchards in China, the EU, and the US recover from the weather-hit 2018 campaign, according to USDA data. The growth in supply is expected to boost imports and exports.
China’s harvest production is estimated to break all records, reaching 15.0 million tons (+9.7), thanks to favourable growing conditions in the Shandong province. Accordingly, exports are set to rise almost 60% to 100,000 tons, driven by higher shipments to Vietnam. Imports are also set to rise (to 28,000 tons), with arrivals from Chile and Australia, the latter having recently signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with China.
US production is up almost 20% to 814,000 tons, thanks to excellent conditions during critical points of the season. The larger crop will raise exports to 75,000 tons (mainly to Mexico and Canada), while imports are expected to fall, due to lower shipments from Chile.
A large EU crop is expected, with output up 7% to 4.1 million tons. The increased supplies are expected to drive exports up by almost 30% to 200,000 tons, while lowering imports to 30,000 tons.
Japan’s 2018/19 peach crop was down 9.5% to 111,500 tons, as the hot June and July with little rainfall during the maturation period July reduced fruit size. The 2019/20 harvest is expected to be similarly impacted by the weather, with FAS/Tokyo forecasting a fall in output of 11.7% to 100,000 tons. In Western Japan, up to 10% of peach trees were damaged by a typhoon in autumn 2018, while frost and hail caused damage in the centre of the country.
In 2018/19, Japan’s fresh peach exports totalled 1,726 tons (worth US$16 million). The main destination markets are Hong Kong and Taiwan. With a smaller crop expected, exports are forecast to fall 13% in 2019/20 to 1,500 tons. The US is the only country that can export peaches to Japan.
Favourable weather conditions in most production countries mean that the EU’s peach and nectarine production is estimated to rise in 2019/20. According to FAS Post data, volumes are up 6.6% to 4.1 million tons countries. EU stone fruit exports continue to decline in the face of the continued Russian embargo imposed in 2014 on exports of food and agricultural products. The area planted is expected to remain stable at around 222,900 ha. EU Consumption of fresh peaches and nectarines is estimated to be up 6% to 3.2 million tons due to higher supply and high temperatures. Peaches and nectarines for processing should rise to 710,000 tons in line with the increased supply.
While EU imports of peaches and nectarines rose in 2018/19 by 28% to 34,855 tons (US$86 million), they are expected to fall in 2019/20 due to the bumper crop. The leading suppliers of peaches and nectarines to the EU are Chile, South Africa, Turkey and Morocco.
As for its exports, the main destinations for EU peaches and nectarines are Belarus, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
Australia’s 2019/20 peach and nectarine crop is set to climb 2% to 96,000 tons from the previous year, according to FAS Canberra data. The growth is due to old varieties being replaced with newer more productive ones. The crop has benefited from large parts of the main production area, Victoria, receiving plenty of rainfall in recent months. Nectarines account for 53% of the crop and peaches for 47%. The Australian harvest runs from November to January for peaches and from January to February for nectarines.
Australia’s fresh peach and nectarine exports volumes have doubled in volume over the past five years. They are expected to reach 17,000 tons in 2019/20 (up 9%) on the back of the good crop and the increasing demand from China, which accounts for about 44% of the total. In 2018/19 alone, China’s imports were up 68% in volume. Protocols were signed in 2017 to allow Australia to export nectarines to China, while in 2018, protocols were signed for peach, apricot and plum imports from Australia for the first time.
Domestic consumption is set to remain stable, with the increase in volumes heading to overseas markets. Around 71% of the peaches and nectarines produced in Australia went to fresh domestic consumption.
Turkey’s total peach and nectarine production for 2019/20 is expected to rise 5% to 830,000 tons, according to data published by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkSTAT). Yields and quality are generally considered satisfactory thanks to favourable weather conditions. Planting area for peach continues to expand with a focus on export markets and the juice industry, and now stands at 46,400 ha. Indeed, Turkey is among the world’s top-ten exporters of peaches and nectarines. The most common peach varieties in Turkey are Early Amber, Spring Crest, May Crest, Red Haven and Early Red. The Turkish season runs from April to early October
Peach and nectarine production for processing is forecast at 135,000 tons in 2019/20, around 15% of all peach production. The Turkish juice industry is growing at about six% annually (for all fruit juices). Turkey exports more than 250,000 tons of stone fruits annually, mainly to the EU and Russia.