Posted on

Italy faces larger apple crop but decline in pears, table grapes


USDA FORECASTS 2014/15 MARKETING YEAR (in metric tons)


APPLES (marketing year July/June)


Production: up 11% rise to 2.38 million

Exports: down slightly (less than 0.5%) to 870,000

Imports: down slightly (just under 3%) to 41,000


PEARS (marketing year July/June)

Production: down 2.6% to 707,000

Exports: 146,000 (down slightly from 146,601)

Imports: 103,000 (up slightly from 102,209)

(World’s top pear producers: China, US, Italy)


TABLE GRAPES (marketing year June/May)

Production: down 20% to 960,000 on record of 1.2 million in 2013/2014

Exports: 470,300 (down from 500,971)

Imports: 22,320 (up from 20,237)

Withdrawal from market: 9,300

(World’s top table grape exporters: Chile, US, Italy)



The weather has favoured Italy’s 2014/15 apple marketing season but not that of its table grapes and pears, according to new forecasts by the USDA.

The country’s apple crop is expected to increase by 11% but, after a record harvest last season, that of table grapes will drop a fifth, mainly due to adverse conditions during flowering and fruit set.

And heavy rainfall during the fruit setting and maturity phases makes a 2.6% drop likely in the country’s pear supply compared to last season, the USDA said in its report “Italy: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual 2014”.


Apples: potential in North Africa, the Middle East


The fruit size for the apple season is expected to be above average and quality high.

“Remarkable increases” are forecast for Red Delicious (+19.6%), Granny Smith (+19.6%), Fuji (+12.1%), and Golden Delicious (+9.5%).

Last season, Italy’s apple exports to Russia (mostly Granny Smith and Golden) reached 26,318 tons but in light of the Russian ban since imposed, Italy’s apple sector could look to the growing markets of North Africa and Middle East, the USDA said.

Italy grows about a fifth of the EU-28’s apple production, with Trentino-South Tyrol – which delivers 70% of Italian apple production – alone supplying 15% of the European crop.



Pears: decline in acreage

With about 34,241ha, mainly in the northeast, Italy is the EU-28’s largest pear producer but the total of its pear orchard area has been declining in the last decade “due to lack of profitable investment opportunities,” the USDA said.

Emilia-Romagna is the area supplying two thirds of Italy’s total pear crop.

Abate Fetel is the dominant variety, followed by William B.C., Conference, Kaiser, Coscia-Ercollini, Decana, Max Red Bartlett, and Santa Maria. Production decreases are forecast for Kaiser, Decana del Comizio, Santa Maria, and William.

Table grapes: drop in wholesale prices

Aside from the unfavorable weather during flowering and fruit set, cold temperatures in mid-July damaged several plantations “thus affecting the fruit quality which overall is forecast to be good,” the USDA said.

“The production drop, slow consumption, and the Russian ban made wholesale prices drop by 25-30% compared to the last season from 1.30-1.50 €/kg to 0.70-1.20 €/kg.”

Italian table grape production – which ranks sixth globally in volume – is mainly in  Apulia and Sicily, with Italia, Victoria, and Red Globe the varieties accounting for two thirds of the table grape area.

“In the last few years, Italy has gradually moved to seedless grapes cultivation, due to an increasing demand from intra and extra EU markets. Sugraone and Crimson are the most popular seedless varieties followed by Thompson, Centennial, and Sublime,” the USDA said.

Read the report:








Posted on

Chile’s table grape, pear and apple production bouncing back



Mother Nature has smiled on Chile lately, with weather favouring increases in its apple, table grape and pear crops for next year, according to new forecasts from the USDA. Table grape and pear production are set to climb 14.2% and 8.6% respectively, it said in its report, “Chile: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual”.


Fresh table grapes

Stable weather conditions in all production areas augurs for a 14.2% increase to about 1.2 million tons of table grapes for Chile’s 2015 marketing season, starting in January, the USDA reported.

Table grape export volumes are expected to rise 14.6% on last year thanks to both the higher production and more consignment shipments of table grapes. The US is Chile’s main foreign market for table grapes, taking more than 40% of exports, with the EU the next biggest.

More than 36 varieties of table grapes are grown for export in Chile but Thompson Seedless and Flame Seedless account for the bulk of production.



Producers are forecasting a harvest of about 1.4 million tons – about three quarters of them red apples – for the coming production season (January–December 2015). Higher than usual temperatures in spring are not expected to reduce the quality or volume of the crop.

The USDA said Chilean apple growers have been increasing orchard density and replacing traditional varieties, such as Red Delicious and its variations, with new, more productive varieties, such as Fuji, Gala, Jonathan, Braeburn, Pink Lady and Galaxies.

“As a result we expect that output will expand under normal weather conditions in the coming years,” it said. The US continues to be Chile’s strongest export market for apples.


Fresh pears

The USDA said it was still too early for a good estimate of pear volumes but noted the weather had been “good for fruit fresh fruit in general.” The most recent winter provided enough chill hours for good budding and thus an 8.6% increase on last year’s production is expected for the 2015 marketing season, which would mean about 290,000 tons

Packam’s Triumph and Beurre Bosc comprise more than 60% of Chile’s exports, which are expected to increase by 9% on 2014, in line with the higher output. Nearly half Chile’s pear exports go to the EU, the USDA said.



Read the report.


Posted on

Difficult marketing season for Southern Hemisphere apple, pear sectors

Screenshot 2014-11-21 at 15

During the summer season the 28 European countries imported similar quantities apples and 10% less pears compared to last season, or 514.000 tons apples and 236.000 tons pears.

In apple imports there was  major shift in sourcing. Argentina  and South-African volumes were down with 15%, Chile and New Zealand shipped respectively 32% and 11% more.

Argentina exported in 2014 135.000 tons of which 37.000 tons went to the EU, some lower than forecasted due to smaller production and more fruit devoted for processing than expected. Pear exports decreased to 380.000 tons of which 87.000 tons went to the EU, due to smaller production, larger domestic consumption, and more fruit for processing. In addition, there were larger fruit stocks in the Northern Hemisphere. For 2015, forecasts production are at above normal levels as production rebounds following 2014 series of bad weather and to the natural lifecycle of plants, which allows fruit to blossom heavier one season and lighter the following season. 2015 is expected to be the “heavier” season.  A major increase in domestic consumption is expected for the three types of fruit as a result of the increase in production. In addition, higher volumes of apples and pears will be destined for domestic consumption due to the high inflation in dollar terms in Argentina. Exports are forecast to increase following the production rebound.

Apple production in Brazil decreased slightly in 2014 as a result of unfavorable weather conditions and a reduction in planted area. In 2013 Brazil exported 85.000 tons of apples, an 18 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012. Apple producers prioritized exports to recover from 2011. This situation will not happen in 2014, as the adverse weather conditions interfere in the volume and quality of the fruit.

Exports declined by 9 percent. The quality of the fruit has been damaged by the adverse weather conditions and the European markets taking 38.000 tons prefer the top quality fruit, without a damaged appearance.

Chilean exports of apples this year is likely to reach a total of about 770.000 tones, four percent less than last year. Abnormal weather during last spring, heavy frost for two consecutive days in mid-September of 2013, which affected all fresh fruit production in Chile, lowered pear output during this production season. Total production and exports are expected to be down over 10 percent when compared to the previous season. Pear exports reached 267.000 tons, all pear varieties are down in exports by over 10 percent. The only exception is the Packhams Triumph’s variety which expanded by 10 percent. Europe imported 184.000 tons apples and 44.000 tons pears.

New Zealand’s Apple and Pear growers have enjoyed a second year of good prices for their fruit in 2013/2014. Apple exports increased to 310.500 tons, of which 137.000 tons are imported in Europe. Sources indicate that because of strong offshore pricing early on in the shipping season every bit of fruit that could be found of saleable standard has been shipped. Now that prices have plummeted in Europe some growers who have had fruit shipped late into Europe (August to October 2014) may now wish they hadn’t bothered. It may be difficult for prices to maintain their current levels in 2014/2015 if exporters are to ship a forecasted export volume of 327.000 tons which will be five percent greater than 2013/2014 volume. This will be made all the more difficult with the anticipated large harvest of apples in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is likely there will be a resumption of the trend to less reliance on the UK and European markets in 2014/2015 by New Zealand apple exporters. From 2004/2005 to 2011/2012, consistently better returns in Asia have fueled a trend to replace European markets with ones in Asia. Relatively good pricing in Europe over the last 18 months has halted this trend, but those prices have begun to come under pressure in August through September 2014. The slightly later flowering time for the 2014/2015 crop won’t help exporters aiming to get fruit to Asia as early as possible but may give them a few extra weeks’ leeway to get a better supply and demand balance in Europe. The UK market is featured here to contrast a traditional destination for New Zealand apples with the emerging and developing markets of Asia and the Middle East. There is predictable market access for the fruit. It is price driven and takes the traditional varieties: Braeburn, and the traditional Royal Gala variety. Achieving higher prices has revolved around the Jazz and Pink Lady varieties supplanting the traditional varieties.

NZ pear exports in 2013/2014 have been surprisingly strong. Based on year-to-date shipment data, post has revised its export forecast for 2013/2014 to 5.350 tons. This represents a 19% increase compared to our previous forecast.

South African apple exports totals 459.000 tons based on updated Global Trade Atlas (GTA) data. With 117.000 tons the EU, which is the world’s second largest apple importer, is SA`s traditional market with UK being the biggest individual market. South Africa is a counter-seasonal producer, and is the Southern Hemisphere`s most convenient source for EU importers based on its proximity to the EU, and historical trading patterns, compared to other deciduous exporting countries like New Zealand, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. South Africa has been focusing on diversifying its export markets with expected growth to African markets such as Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Zambia and Cameroon, and to Asia and the Middle East.

Production forecast for the 2014/2015 of the apple crop (1% increase to 910.000 tons), pears (3% increase to 390.000 tons) are good based on normal growing conditions following hail and rainfall damage at the end of December 2013. Post forecasts that the increase in apple, pear production, and the weak Rand/US$ exchange rate, will also result in increases in apple exports (3% increase to 390.000 tons), pears exports (2% to 225.000 tons) in the 2014/15 marketing year.


Click here to see map of EU-28 apple suppliers