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Georgia increased its export of stone fruit and will raise its potato crops

Georgia increased its export of peaches and nectarines by 40%

By the end of August, Georgia exported more than 23,000 tons of peaches and nectarines, or 10,000 tons more than YOY in 2019, informed the Ministry of Agriculture of the country. Fruit are basically exported to Russia (15,500 tons), Armenia (730 t) and Azerbaijan (500 tons). The rest was exported to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland and Slovenia. Pilot lots were also shipped to Singapore and Qatar, informs newsgeorgia.ge agency.

Thanks to CIP, Georgian farmers will raise their potato crop

Three years ago, the International Center of potato (CIP) initiated the project intending the development of potato production in Georgia. In the frame of that three-year project, 76 new potato varieties were introduced for the selection, and after careful trials, the most suitable varieties in terms of yield and disease resistance were selected for production in Georgia. The negotiations regarding the second stage of the projects are being currently held.

“The representative office of CIP in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is the regional headquarter for 7 other Caucasian and Central Asian countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenia and Kirgizstan,” says Rusudan Mdivani, regional delegate of CIP. “We opened several laboratories of in vitro selection of potato in some of these countries and carry out the researches devising to test new genotypes, adapt them to local climate and soil conditions, etc.”

Potato is the strategic product for Georgia, it is one of the most popular vegetables in consumers’ everyday diet. Thanks to CIP’s project, Georgia will not just satiate the domestic market, but will help to expand the export to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and even to Iran.

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Frutaito opens new warehouse

Frutaito brings together the efforts of 25 stone fruit farming families from the town of Aitona (Lleida). Saturn peaches, nectarines and peaches are some of their main reference items. This year, apricots are to be added to the range.

Frutaito brings together the efforts of 25 stone fruit farming families from the town of Aitona (Lleida). Saturn peaches, nectarines and peaches are some of their main reference items. This year, apricots are to be added to the range.

“We’re seeing sustained growth. Whereas 8 years ago we produced 8 million kilos, this year we plan to reach 12 million,” said Frutaito CEO Xavier Blanco, who also announced the launch in 2016 of a new warehouse for handling and storage of this significant increase in volume.

Many international markets take up the excellent supply from Frutaito, whose fruits are exported under the auspices of trading company Ruser Sport, S.L. in Germany, Italy, Poland, the UK, France and the UAE.

Now that the Chinese market is opening up for Spain, Catalan fruit producers are also setting their sights on the Asian giant. Frutaito already has all the necessary protocols to start exporting to China, Blanco said. “We are in good conditions to cross the Chinese border with our fruit, but let’s see what happens on the logistics side.”

“Although the journey only takes one day by air, this route is still very expensive. By sea might be more economical, but it’s a long voyage that can last around 30 days,” he said.

The challenge facing Frutaito, along with other Spanish exporters, is how to make exporting to China feasible with the technology currently available and ensure that the varieties they have can properly withstand this long journey.

 

 

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Fruilar boosts peach and nectarine supply

Thanks to its balance between pome fruit and stone fruit, Fruilar has a year-round supply of fruit.

Over the years, Catalan company Fruilar has earned a strong reputation as one of the leading suppliers and distributors of the high quality Pink Lady apple variety in Europe.

The firm enjoys the same reputation for its stone fruit supply and specialises in exporting top quality produce over long distances. Thanks to the balance between both items – pome fruit accounting for 60% of the supply and stone fruit the remaining 40% – the company can supply produce without interruption during 52 weeks of the year.

The 450 ha currently marketed by Fruilar marketing provide a volume of 15,000 tons per year, which is set to increase with the addition of new producers.

“As the result of a new partnership with a family of producers, for this campaign we’ll be adding around 1,500 tons more to our peach and nectarine assortment,” said manager Joan Serentil.

In stone fruit the company produces 3,000 tons of nectarines, 800 tons of Saturn peach and 1,000 tons of peaches.

A significant slice of Fruilar produce is exported to Brazil, its third most important market. “Brazil has been badly hit economically, but fortunately it didn’t affect us much us because we specialise in the southern zone, which is slightly more stable than the rest of the country,” Serentil said.

On strategies for this campaign, he said the aim will be to increase the company’s presence in northern Europe and the UK. As for the future, all eyes are now on Asia. 

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Early, high quality stone fruit from idyl

idyl specialises not only in stone fruit but also in high quality, tasty melons and tomatoes, and in partnership with producers in Provence, it markets and commercialises a full range of winter salads under its Eva brand.

Morocco’s fruit is recognised as among the best quality and Moroccan fruit and vegetable producer idyl has the added advantage of being among the first to market with it, offering its produce from the start of April.

idyl’s peach and nectarine orchards bloom in the perfect climatic conditions found between Marrakech and the Atlantic Ocean. Its variety selection is based on taste and visual quality and the extra plus of being so early to market wins its fruit a prized position on store shelves.

Idyl’s yellow and white peaches and nectarines are available in all sizes, from 51 to more than 90 mm, and come packed in cardboard boxes of 1 layer, 50 x 30 and 60 x 40.

idyl specialises not only in stone fruit but also in high quality, tasty melons and tomatoes, and in partnership with producers in Provence, it markets and commercialises a full range of winter salads under its Eva brand.

idyl also offers a range of organic fruit and vegetables – from all origins and year-round – under its Tribu Ecolo brand.

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Decline in stone fruit sales in US

Retail sales of fresh stone fruit in the United States have slumped 5.6% in value year-on-year, bringing the total spend in this category down $51.8 million to a total of $868.4 million for the 52 weeks to January 30.

Retail sales of fresh stone fruit in the United States have slumped 5.6% in value year-on-year, bringing the total spend in this category down $51.8 million to a total of $868.4 million for the 52 weeks to January 30.

Nielsen data also shows that the number of fruits sold has fallen 1.8% – or by 8.7 million – to a total of 471.4 million.

Peaches, which alone generate nearly half the total spend on stone fruit in the US, also largely accounted for the lion’s share of lower sales in the category.

Consumer expenditure on peaches was 7.8% lower yoy, wiping $31.5 million off the amount spent on peaches in the 52 weeks to January 31 last year.

The total peach volume sold at retail was also down, by 3.6%, to 243.6 million, a decline of 9.2 million.

Despite slight upticks in the number of nectarines and plums sold, by 0.8% and 2.1% respectively, the spend on them dwindled by 3.6% and 0.5%. And rounding off the category are apricots, which were the worst performers in terms of the percentage drop in yoy sales, though it should be remembered they account for only about 1.5% of the stone fruit volume sold. Retail sales of this fruit plummeted about 25% in value, to $19.8 million, and 26% in volume, to 6.7 million.

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Small increase forecast in Italy’s peach, nectarine crops

Italy is also major peach and nectarine exporter, mainly within the EU-28. In 2014, it exported 298,442 tons of peaches and nectarines, 19% less than 2013.

Peach and nectarine production in the 2015/16 marketing year (June-May) is forecast to inch up 2.2% in Italy, the largest peach and nectarine producer in the EU-28 and second in the world after China, reports the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Service (GAIN) in its recent Italy stone fruit annual.

Stone fruit production has a big role in agriculture in several Italian regions, both in the north (especially Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont) and the south (Campania). The bulk of the Italian harvest occurs in June and July, according to GAIN.

  • In 2015/16, peach production is forecast at 579,000 tons (555,237 tons in MY2014/15).
  • Nectarine production is forecast at 760,000 tons (765,064 tons in MY2014/15).
  • The cling peach harvest is likely to reach 74,000 tons (61,836 tons in MY2014/15). Fruit quality is forecast to be good.

Italy’s stone fruit exports

  • Italy is also major peach and nectarine exporter, mainly within the EU-28.
  • In 2014, it exported 298,442 tons of peaches and nectarines, 19% less than 2013.
  • Lower volumes were exported to Germany (- 12%), the top export destination, representing 44% of total exports.

Italy’s stone fruit imports

  • Italy imported 75,213 tons of peaches and nectarines in 2014, a surge of 25.8% on 2013.
  • This growth was driven by increased volumes from its main supplier, Spain (+31%).

Italy’s stone fruit consumption

  • Most Italian peaches and nectarines are consumed fresh.
  • While Italian consumers generally prefer large, sweet, and pulpy fruits, Northern European markets prefer smaller, slightly sour, and crunchy fruits.

Read more here.

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Chemical agent helps thin stone fruit

Chemicals are used to thin out stone fruit – rather than doing it by hand or machine – under an invention from the UK’s Fine Agrochemicals Ltd.

Chemicals are used to thin out stone fruit – rather than doing it by hand or machine – under an invention from the UK’s Fine Agrochemicals Ltd.

In a patent application document, the company says the need for fruit load control is widely recognised in the stone fruit sector. As the fruit carrying capacity of trees is limited, an increase in the number of fruit – such as in the case of apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries and peaches – is accompanied by reduction in fruit size.

And since small fruit is considered “low quality fruit” in the fresh fruit market, and attracts “very low prices”, it is common practice among fruit growers to reduce the number of fruits per tree by chemical, mechanical and/or hand thinning in order to prevent branch breakage, and to obtain large, high quality fruits, and also because abundant bearing may cause bi-annual bearing, which is disadvantageous in itself, it said.

But the hand thinning of flowers or of fruit require a lot of manpower and is “very expensive”, the company said in the documents published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). And mechanical flower thinning has downsides including the risk of tree damage.

As for the less labour intensive option of chemical thinning, the company said “very few” products are available for stone fruit and only treatment with GA3 (gibberellic acid) is relatively common.

Instead, it proposes use of gibberellin 7 (GA7) for thinning of stone fruit by applying the GA7 as foliar spray within 12 weeks after full bloom, and preferably using the GA7 mixed with GA4.

Suitable stone fruit include peach, apricot, nectarine, plum, cherry and mirabelle but the preferred species are peach and nectarine.

Tests show that with suitable application of GA7, at least a 30% reduction (between 10-70%) in fruit set is achievable, it said.
 

Images:
1: Nectarine branch by Christopher Thomas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
2: Harrow Beauty peaches at Lyman Orchards by Sage Ross (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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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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Peaches and nectarines PGI: enjoy the difference!

The peach and the nectarine of Romagna, produced only in the typical area that covers the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, Ferrara and Bologna, are the only ones that can boast about PGI brand, the European recognition, that guarantees their uniqueness and emphasizes the close link with the territory of origin, which for its special environmental characteristics and for the historical tradition of the producers, allows to obtain qualitative levels of excellence.

The summer season brought to Italian tables the peaches and nectarines of the Romagna PGI, which returned for the second consecutive year as protagonists of the triennial European campaign of communication and promotion of the fruit and vegetable PDO and PGI.

With the message Enjoy the difference!, Europe signs the products of its territories, the campaign had as its goal increasing knowledge of PGI products, which seem with defined characteristics guaranteed by the European label.

The peach and the nectarine of Romagna, produced only in the typical area that covers the provinces of Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, Ferrara and Bologna, are the only ones that can boast the PGI brand, the European recognition that guarantees their uniqueness and emphasises the close link with the territory of origin, which for its special environmental characteristics and for the historical tradition of the producers, allows to obtain qualitative levels of excellence.

In Italy from the last mid-July until mid-August, some promotional activities organised within the framework of the EU campaign were carried out: the peaches and the nectarines of Romagna PGI were present in some of the main chains of the large-scale retail, like Abbondanza, Super Alì, Coop Adricatica. In the sales points of the chains concerned, information on the peach and the nectarine of Romagna PGI was distributed, helping consumers discover all the benefits of these tasty fruits.

Moreover, the activities have continued with the sponsorship of some local events like the youth football S. Agostino Tournament in the province of Ferrara that held the 6th – 7th July 2015, in partnership with the mountain bike eventPlan de Corones MTB Race of the 18th July to San Vigilio di Marebbe, in the province of Bolzano on July 19th the Tournament of Beach Basketball to Bagno Kusall in Lido di Spina (Comacchio), in order to end with the tournament of Beach tennis the13th/14th/18th July to Bagno Marrakech in Lido di Spina.

The Radicchio of Treviso and the pear of Emilia-Romagna are the other two products that characterise the European campaign in Italy.

The European multi-country (France, Italy and Spain) program of information and promotion “Fruits & Vegetables PDO-PGI” promotes the official European labels PDO-PGI, through the example of 8 varieties of fruit and vegetables.

These are:
for France, the KIWI de L’ADOUR PGI, the SANDS ASPARAGUS PGI (Landes), the PÉRIGORD STRAWBERRY PGI and the AGEN PRUNEAU PGI
for Italy, the EMILIA ROMAGNA PEAR PGI, the ROMAGNA PEACH/NECTARINE PGI and the RADICCHIO of TREVISO PGI
for Spain, KAKI OF RIBERA del XÙQUER PDO

The communication and promotion campaign, called “Europe signs the products of its terroirs”, targets 3 countries of the European Union: France, Italy and Germany.
The aim of this campaign is to inform and sensitize the consumers and the professionals of the sector on the PDO and PGI products and on their multiple assets, through the valorization and the promotion of the terroir.

Duration of the program: February 2014-February 2017

source: August newsletter of AREFLH (Assembly of European Fruit and Vegetable Growing and Horticultural Regions)

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Back to normal for European peach sector

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The return to normal flowering dates in 2015 promises better prospects for this season even though the volume estimates are identical to those of 2014

Peaches and nectarines (new figures)

Country

2014 crop (tons)

2015 forecast

Spain

1,358,400

1,395,900

France

230,800

220,800

Italy

1,382,100

1,378,000

Greece

738,000

752,000

European peach sector operators say they are more optimistic about the 2015 season. 2014 was a record year for quantities but a disaster in terms of price, leaving all the growers a bitter taste in the mouth. The earliness of the crops meant that growing areas overlapped. The record quantities available from the end of April (a total of 1,320,301 tons for the year) and the gloomy weather brought prices tumbling down. All types of peaches suffered the same problems and the Russian embargo only served to exacerbate the imbalance. All in all, 2014 was catastrophic for peaches. Nevertheless, all the crop found a market.

Spain overtakes Italy

For the first time, Spain should overtake Italy in volume terms. The slight reduction (about 5%) in the Italian surface area, particularly in the North, explains the expected decrease in this country’s crop. In Greece, some early varieties have been damaged by heavy rain and frosts. Even so, because of the new plantings, the harvest should be similar or even larger in clingstone peaches, which account for half the Greek surface area. In France, a succession of crises and the plum pox virus (sharka virus) have led to grubbing up a certain number of orchards. Working together with the PDO peach and nectarine distributors should showcase French peaches, though the crop lags a long way behind the country’s consumption.

European apricot crops

Country

2014 crop (tons)

2015 forecast

Spain

89,493

99,950

France

173,733

166,169

Italy

213,109

197,451

Greece

53,000

46,000

The 2015 European apricot forecasts are close to the final figures for 2014. The slight reduction is due to unfavourable weather conditions for certain varieties.

Last year was a generous one for the European Mediterranean countries’ apricot crops, which totalled 529,335 tonnes. They sold quite easily despite noticeable competition from peaches owing to the latter’s abundance and low prices. New apricot orchard planting continues in the north of Italy, with new, later varieties, in Spain at the expense of pip fruit, in the Roussillon in France and in certain new areas in Greece. Even so, the 2015 crop is expected to be slightly lower than in 2014, with 528,340 tonnes forecast.

Fruit set is very variable depending on the region and variety. In Italy, the varieties that are not self-fertile, largely found in the North, will be yielding less this year. There will be a lack of French Orangereds owing to alternate bearing, but other varieties should make up the shortfall.  Larger sizes could compensate for the smaller numbers. Abundant rain or periods of cold have caused 80% flower drop in Macedonia, where the crop is estimated at 8000 tons this year compared to 26,000 tonnes last year. The rainy spring of 2015 will delay the harvest compared to 2014, bringing a return to a normal calendar. The lack of cold during the winter could still have knock-on effects on the behaviour of certain varieties.

Italy, the biggest producer, which grows 40% of Europe’s apricots, will not reach its full crop potential as it did in 2014. France is moving in the direction of a normal year and the challenge will be for the regions to help the market by not clashing with each other. The quality seems to be up to the mark in Spain, where the plentiful rain has encouraged growth. The crop should be slightly bigger than in 2014. In Greece, the cold weather in Macedonia could affect the shape of the fruit.

GD

image: By Cary Bass (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons