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Fruitful Italian expansion for Greefa

North Italy is one of Europe’s most productive area for apples and pears, and Greefa is a major player there, thanks to the expertise acquired in developing its state-of-the-art machinery and high-value sorting techniques.

Holland-based market leader in the fruit and vegetable sorting business, Greefa, has taken a big step into the Italian market, by setting up a new company in North Italy – the epicentre of Europe’s apple production.

In a press release, Greefa director Jan Nijland said the move was a logical step for the company, “as Italy has been a very important market for our grading and packing installations over half a century.”

North Italy is one of Europe’s most productive area for apples and pears, and Greefa is a major player there, thanks to the expertise acquired in developing its state-of-the-art machinery and high-value sorting techniques.

The new company, Greefa Italia, is a 100% subsidiary of Greefa, and its ultra-modern building – located in Lana in the Bolzano/South Tyrol region – is home to an extensive range of machine parts, forming the basis of a well-trusted support service for many existing clients in Italy and surrounding countries.

The establishment also houses the talents of a highly skilled team of technical and commercial staffers. Together, these Lana-based experts represent an invaluable centre, offering advice on the most modern and complete sorting and packing installations for apples, pears and many other types of fruit and vegetables.  

Since its inception in 1940, Greefa has grown from a small family business to a world market leader. Its installations, measuring systems and software are all developed in-house.

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750,000 tons off-season imports of pears worldwide

Large European Conference crop in 2018

Southern Hemisphere table pear exporters are ready for a good season

Southern hemisphere pear exports have already been starting since late January. It is worth having a look at the export performance of the five major table pear producing countries in their major markets.

Following WAPA association in 2014 Argentina grew 794,000 tons, followed by South Africa’s 399,000 tons and Chile’s 170,000 tons. In Australia and New Zealand there are also some pear plantations, but the biggest exporter is Argentina with 409,000 tons, followed by South Africa with 207,000 tons and Chile 117,000 tons. The other two countries are not very active as exporting countries.

The bulk of Argentinean pears, 162,000 tons, goes to neighbouring countries, mostly Brazil. The European Union and Russia each import about 90,000 tons. Even the U.S. allows 44,000 tons of imports and Canada takes in 9,000 tons.

Chile is also looking to its neighbouring countries to take in large quantities, about 47,000 tons. Europe is a regular client with 41,000 tons, followed by the U.S. importing 16,000 tons.

South Africa tries to place half of its crop in the export markets, with Europe still the motor, taking in 100,000 tons. It sells the remainder in other countries, shipping to Asia and the Middle East. In recent years, it has placed a special focus on other Southern African countries, which are importing extra volumes every year, reaching 10,000 tons in 2014.

In 2015, the Southern Hemisphere’s production fell by 10% due to adverse weather conditions. It is estimated that exports also dropped by 10%. The European crop was normal and in November stocks were 3% lower compared to the previous year. In general, there is a shortage of red-blossomed varieties.

Bigger crop in Argentina and South Africa

In late January, the 2016 campaign has already started in South Africa on a schedule very similar to that of last year but with a little delay flowering, and it is especially widespread in Argentina. Moreover, with no major weather incidents for now, it is

expected that the export potential is comparable to that of last year or even still slightly up in South Africa with the arrival of young plants in full production orchards. The favourable exchange rate of the Rand is favouring exports. The harvest should also be higher than last year’s in Argentina, which was truncated by strikes, hail and high temperatures, though below previous years. The difficult economic and financial conditions of recent years should be absorbed. The devaluation of the peso and government aids are also supporting the exporters.

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Fruitness, enjoy it! launches pear promotion campaign

The Fruitness, enjoy it! project has been encouraging fruit-eating through an approach based on fun and enjoyment.

The pear is one of the most popular fruits Europe-wide. The EU-28’s biggest pear producers include Italy (723,000 tons), Spain (377,000), Belgium (347,000) and the Netherlands (327,000). Forecasts for the total EU-28 harvest for 2015 give a figure of 2,343,000 tons, with 334,000 tons for the Abate Fétel variety.

The third three-year programme of the Fruitness, enjoy it! project, promoted by the CSO Fruit&Vegetable services and co-financed by the European Union and the Italian Government with the aim of encouraging young adults in the United Kingdom, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany to include more fruit in their diets, is about to end on a high note.

In fact, January saw an intensive promotional campaign dedicated to one of the project’s core fruits – the pear. The Fruitness, enjoy it! project has been encouraging fruit-eating through an approach based on fun and enjoyment since 2006. Throughout its nine years in operation, the project has included initiatives such as the creation of fruit-themed on-line games and smartphone apps, organising point-of-sale tastings and developing tools to make greengrocery departments more attractive and stimulating.

Pears, popular with adults and children alike for their sweet flavour and soft consistency, will be the focus of a tasty road show during the European winter, involving four German cities: Hannover, Göttingen, Münster and Essen. To reach even more people, to coincide with the poster campaign a large number of “Fruitness, enjoy it!” promoters will be in the busiest parts of these four German cities, giving away fruit-themed promotional gifts, answering questions and queries and above all inviting consumers to taste Abate Fétel pears.

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South Africa’s deciduous fruit supply

South Africa is the Southern Hemisphere’s fourth biggest apple producer and ranks second for pears.

With about 79,803 ha last year, deciduous fruit is the largest sub-sector for all land dedicated to fruit plantations in South Africa.

And of the country’s total area planted with deciduous fruit, grapes (fresh and dried), apples and pears together accounted for about 78%, reports the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

In an update on South African deciduous fruit supply and demand, it says South Africa is the Southern Hemisphere’s fourth biggest apple producer and ranks second for pears.

The Western Cape is the country’s largest and traditional producer of deciduous fruits, but in the past two decades the Northern and Eastern Cape, and Limpopo provinces have become increasingly large producers of deciduous fruit, GAIN says.

Forecasts from the South African post in the report include:

South African apple production is expected to increase by 2% to 865,000 tons in the 2016 marketing year (January to December), and exports to inch up 1% to 455,000 tons, based on the available production and the weak rand exchange rate.
Africa is now the leading export market for South Africa apples, taking nearly half of total exports, followed by the EU (26%), Asia (20%) and the Middle East (7%).
The top 5 export countries in 2014 were the UK (17%), Malaysia (11%), Nigeria (11%), Angola (4%) and the UAE (4%).

South African pear production is forecast to rise 3% to 410,000 tons in 2016 based on normal growing conditions and the minimal impact of the dry weather conditions on irrigation water availability.
Exports are set to fall 7% to 190,000 tons based on the difficult global pear market, and growth in the local processing market demand and prices.
The EU takes about 57% of the total exports followed by Asia (22%), the Middle East (14%), and Africa (7%).
The Netherlands is the biggest individual market, accounting for 27% of the export market followed by the UAE at 10%.

Table grapes
Another exceptional season is expected for table grape production, with a marginal rise on last season to 294,000 tons.
Exports are also expected to rise marginally, by 1% to 266,000 tons, based on the available production and continued strong demand due to the weak exchange rate.
The EU takes at least 75% of the table grapes exports.
“South Africa benefits from a shorter shipping distance than other Southern Hemisphere competitors, strong demand for seedless varieties, and a free trade agreement with the EU,” the report says, also noting that “exports to Asia (14%), the Middle East (6%) and Africa (4%) have strong growth potential.”

Domestic consumption
Domestic consumption of apples, pears and table grapes is forecast to remain flat in 2016 based on the available production and South Africa’s slow economic growth prospects.
South Africa is a net exporter of deciduous fruits, and only imports small quantities of apples, pears and grapes to fulfill a niche market or to satisfy domestic demand when supply is limited

South Africa flag image: Flag design by Frederick Brownell, image by Wikimedia Commons users [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Production up for China, the world’s top apple, pear & table grape grower

China is the world’s leading producer of apples, pears, and table grapes, and in MY 2015/16 expects apple production at 43 million tons, up 5% on the previous year, pear production up 6% to 19 million tons, and grape production up 9% to to 9.6 million tons.

China is the world’s leading producer of apples, pears, and table grapes, comprising roughly 55%, 77%, and 44% of total output respectively, and is expecting increased crops for each of these fruits in MY 2015/16, according to a recent USDA Gain report on fresh deciduous fruit in the country.

Chinese Fruit Production 2004-2014

source: Ministry of Agriculture


China’s apple production: The USDA post forecasts China’s apple production at 43 million tons in marketing year (MY) 2015/16 (July-June), up 5% from the revised production in MY 2014/15 underpinned by generally favourable weather. In the last decade, apple production has steadily increased but this growth is likely to moderate as less new acreage becomes available for apple production.

China’s apple imports: In May this year, the US and Chinese governments granted market access for each other’s apples, a move expected to boost apple imports from the United States. China’s apple imports are forecast to continue surging by nearly 50% to 100,000 tons in MY 2015/16 (July-June) after China granted market access for all varieties of the U.S.-origin apples.
In October 2014, China lifted an import suspension on Washington apples due to quarantine pest issues, as a result, the country’s apple imports nearly doubled in MY 2014/15. The US is China’s second largest apple supplier after Chile.

China’s apple exports: Increasing prices had been limiting China’s apple exports but in MY 2015/16, China’s apple exports are expected to rebound by 20% to 900,000 tons thanks to apples that are lower-priced and in greater supply. In MY 2014/15, exports had dropped by nearly 20% to 750,000 tons as domestic apple prices reached a record high and the buying power of what had been two main customers for Chinese apples, Russia and Indonesia, was limited by economic difficulties and local currency devaluations

Apple prices in China: Farm gate prices for Fuji apples have dropped by 25% to RMB 6.4 ($1.00) per kilo in Qixia of Shandong, a major apple producing area in China, compared with MY 2014/15. The high purchase prices during the MY 2014/15 harvest time effectively limited consumption and, as a result, fruit sales were reduced and prices began to decline in March 2015. In general, fruit prices were much lower in 2015 than the previous year due to the economic slowdown.


China’s pear production: Pear production is expected to increase by 6% to 19 million tons in MY 2015/16, up nearly 6% from the previous year because of favourable growing conditions in major production areas.

China’s pear imports:  China’s pear imports are forecast to increase by more than 20% to 12,000 tons in MY 2015/16. Pear imports are steadily increasing as consumers become more aware and acceptant of Western pears that are different from their Asian counterparts. Since gaining market access in 2013, the US has become China’s top pear supplier.

China’s pear exports: Thanks to increased supplies, China’s pear exports are tipped to rise 9% to 360,000 tons in MY 2015/16. The report said that while China’s export share to Indonesia, the leading buyer of Chinese pears, is declining, its other major markets in Asia remain quite stable and China is exploring new foreign markets.

Table grapes

Chinese table grape production: The forecast from the USDA’s post in China is for Chinese table grape production of 9.6 million tons in MY 2015/16 (June-May), up 9% on the year before thanks mainly to increased acreage. Grape acreage is expected to expand 5% to 800,000 ha in MY 2015/16.

China’s table grape imports: The post estimates 10% growth in China’s grape imports to 250,000 tons for MY 2015/16, due largely to increased imports during the local off-season. Chile is China’s top grape supplier and Peru has overtaken the US in the number two spot. China’s grape imports from Peru are likely to increase further as, under a Free Trade Agreement, the import tariff for Peruvian grapes will fall to zero this year.

China’s table grape exports: A 27% increase to 165,000 tons is the forecast China’s table grape exports in MY 2015/16. Grape exports to China’s neighbours in Asia are likely to enjoy a boost thanks to the drop in prices in China. In the wake of rapid production expansion, prices for most grape varieties have fallen considerably since MY 2014/15. For example, farm gate prices for Red Globe varieties in Shaanxi province were quoted at RMB 4.8 ($0.76) per kilo during the harvest, down 20% on the same period the previous year.

Chinese fruit consumption

Per capita daily fruit consumption in China is said to be 198 grams, compared to 303 grams in the US and 426 grams in Italy, suggesting there is room for much growth. However, such growth has been slowed in China by the current economic restructuring and much slower GDP growth there.
On the positive side, however, fruit prices have fallen since last year and consumption of imported fruit continues to rise at a fairly fast rate in large cities, “aided by the development of E-commerce which targets mainly the consumers with higher disposable income and young professionals. Shanghai, for example, imports between RMB 15 to 18 billion ($23.6 to 28.3 million) of fresh fruit each year, an annual increase of nearly 40%, according to customs data.”
Overall, the report says, China’s fruit consumption will continue to increase, aided by dietary changes.

Focus now on boosting quality, not production

Instead of focusing on the expansion of production, quality improvement is increasingly the aim of support for the fruit sector provided by the government, normally at provincial or county levels, the report says.
Demonstration farms are seen by the local agriculture departments as an effective way to showcase new production models and farming technology. In Shaanxi, for example, the provincial government is providing an annual subsidy of RMB 10 million ($1.6 million) to build high-density apple demonstration farms which will serve as the model for upgrading the existing apple orchards in the province.

source: GAIN Report Number CH15059, 2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for China (People’s Republic of)

main image: “The People’s Republic of China (green) and its claimed territory (lighter green)” by Ssolbergj licensed under GFDL via Commons


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Major growth, solid profits in New Zealand’s deciduous fruit sector

The deciduous fruit sector in New Zealand is experiencing its third year of solid profits. The sector is now well into a major expansion phase, moving towards a goal of increasing export receipts to NZ$ one billion by 2022.

The deciduous fruit sector in New Zealand is experiencing its third year of solid profits, according to a new USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

The sector is now well into a major expansion phase, moving towards a goal of increasing export receipts to NZ$ 1 billion by 2022, up from its best so far of NZ$ 620 million for the year-to-date 2014/2015, it says. And the country’s planted deciduous tree area is estimated to be up 8% for 2015/16 at 9,750 ha and harveste area is estimated at 9,500 ha, a 6% rise on 2014/2015.

New high color varieties, primarily targeting Asian tastes, are being planted.

A cold dry winter in the Hawkes Bay region followed by a rapid increase in temperatures in October 2015 set the trees up for a compressed high volume flower blossoming in October, which augers well for the harvest in March/April 2016, GAIN said.

“Total deciduous fruit production for 2015/2016 is forecast to increase two percent, reaching a level of 565,350 metric tons (MT). With a greater volume of domestically produced apples in abundance during 2014/2015 it is estimated that domestic consumption of apples and pears will be 80,500MT, a seven percent upward shift from the previous year. Again for the 2015/2016 year there will be plenty of domestic fruit in the market and consumption is expected to remain at 80,000MT.

“The greater volume of the apple crop which has made export grade in 2014/2015 means processing volumes are unlikely to have increased as much as was expected back in April 2015. It is now estimated total deciduous fruit processing volumes will be 147,350MT which is still a 28% increase over the 2013/2014 year.”

“For the current year 2014/2015 total deciduous fruit exports are now expected to reach 331,000MT which amounts to a three percent increase from previous estimates. More of the total crop was export grade than had been expected after the hail and storm damage, which has now facilitated the export tonnage increase. For 2015/2016 it is forecast the volume will rise to 342,000MT, a gain of three percent.

Extraordinary growth in the Asian markets has translated into large export volumes for New Zealand. In fact, in 2014/2015 about 40% of the New Zealand apple export volume has gone to Asian destinations, up from 31% just two years ago. In contrast New Zealand apple exports to Europe and the UK, for so long the key region for export volume demand and overall export returns, have diminished from taking 41% of the export volume in 2012/2013 to this year, 2014/2015, 38%.

“A key element in the relative success enjoyed by New Zealand deciduous fruit exporters in Asian markets has been the negotiation of market access protocols containing sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) conditions that growers in New Zealand can comply with,” GAIN said.

Source: New Zealand: Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual, November 5, 2015, Attaché Reports (GAIN)

Image of Tukituki River and Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand by Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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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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Italian pears recovering in 2015

Opera pear

Based on the initial results of the 2015 crop forecast survey conducted by CSO, a significant drop in yields compared to 2014 is expected for the two main varieties grown in Italy: Abate Fetel and William. These two cultivars account on average for almost 70% of the national pear production and about 75% of the production of Emilia-Romagna, where almost 70% of the world’s pear crop is grown.

Current estimates in EmiliaRomagna show an Abate crop of little over 250,000 tons, almost 10% less than last year. For William pears the data for Emilia-Romagna indicate an availability of just over 100,000 tons, down by 5% on last year and 9% less than the average in recent years. For other minor varieties, after a year of exceptional production in 2014, production is expected to be closer to the norm.

“Baseline data show an okay total production today but it should be noted that some summer varieties already being harvested could lead to the final figures being revised downwards. In the coming days there will be updates of the CSO forecast based on the early product crops,” said Gianni Amidei, president of O.I. Pera.

Opera Consortium brings together Emilia-Romagna producers

This year seems to be one of recovery for the Emilia-Romagna pear sector. After a terrible fall in prices last season, this year it seems they are returning to 2013 levels. At least, this is the impression of the OPERA Consortium, the brand new organisation that brings together some of the leading pear growers in the Po Valley, at the beginning of the season which has just started.

“The first significant variety is Williams, where the harvest is already over,” explained the consortium’s general manager, Luca Granata, “and we can say that the price is slightly better than last year, but too low to be taken as a model. Let’s say that prices have returned to comparable levels to those of two years ago. The volume is in line with expectations, about 208,000- 210,000 tons, i.e. slightly less than that of last season.”

In addition, the record heat of July, which affected all of Italy, had a big impact on the characteristics of the pears. They will have very good aesthetic qualities in the medium sizes thanks to the almost total absence of damage, after the strong hail of September. “The high temperatures of the summer months led to two effects: the average is at least one size smaller and the strong transpiration caused by hot weather has increased the dry matter concentration, giving the fruit a higher sugar content. Its appearance is also good, thanks to the almost total absence of hail damage,” Granata said.

The pear sector has recently been through some very difficult moments: “With about 737,000 tons, Italy is the second largest producer of pears, behind China and ahead of the US, a unique heritage that is not protected as it should be,” Granata said. “Suffice to say that every year, for over 10 years consecutively, the acreage has fallen by 2% due to the crop not being sufficiently profitable for the growers. And each acre lost is 1.5 jobs less on the farms and 0.5 jobs less in the warehouses.

From 1990 to today, in the province of Ferrara alone, the orchard surface area has fallen by about 15,000 acres and the jobs lost have been about 30,000. But no one is talking about it.” Set up at the end of June 2015, OPERA is now the largest Italian cooperative to specialise in the production of pears, with over 1,000 grower members and 18 member companies cultivating an area of 7,527 ha that produces more than 200,000 tons of nine different varieties of pear, sold throughout Italy and in 40 countries around the world. 


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GKE N.V. presents Migo®, its new pear

GKE N.V.  proudly presents its new pear, Migo®, which is positioned as ‘the Friendly Pear’ – the ideal snack anytime, anywhere. The taste remains unchanged – sweet, fresh and juicy as ever. Yet Migo® distinguishes itself through its great storage and shelf life, smooth peel, beautiful shape and size, and good firmness level. Migo® is exclusively cultivated by partners licensed by GKE.

GKE N.V. proudly presents its new pear, Migo®, which is positioned as ‘the Friendly Pear’ – the ideal snack anytime, anywhere. The taste remains unchanged – sweet, fresh and juicy as ever, the company says, yet Migo® distinguishes itself through its great storage and shelf life, smooth peel, beautiful shape and size, and good firmness level. Migo® is exclusively cultivated by partners licensed by GKE.

“Following the launch of the Kanzi® concept apple over ten years ago, we felt it was time for a new pear”, said Urs Luder of GKE N.V. “So we once again joined forces to develop a new concept pear to be launched on the market. We asked real pear lovers to share their wishes and even listened to pear haters’ comments. Why do they dislike pears? Their reaction was loud and clear, ‘We would gladly eat pears, but they should be less messy and of good quality, have a longer shelf life and last but not least, they need to be juicy! We’re looking for pears we can eat as a snack on the go.’ Migo® ticks all the boxes! This new, tasty and juicy pear that makes for the ideal snack will be harvested for the first time this month,” Luder said.

The first pear trees were planted last year and the first harvest will be a relatively limited one, but this variety has presented a stable yield and the trees need little pruning. “We are striving for a controlled expansion of the agricultural land to meet the market demand for Migo®”, Luder said. “We are confident that this new pear and the Migo® concept will offer added value to growers, retailers and consumers alike.”

GKE N.V. (a subsidiary of EFC cvba) has been the variety manager of the Kanzi® and Greenstar® concept apples since 2005, and has now added the Migo® concept pear to its portfolio. It holds worldwide exclusive licence rights for these brands. Its aim is for the production and marketing of these concept varieties to provide added value to all stakeholders, from growers to consumers.

Find out more about Migo® at

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Russian ban and big crops saw 20% drop in returns to Europe’s pear and apple growers

The 2015 apple production in the EU will decrease 5% compared with last year’s crop. The pear crop is predicted by European growers to decrease by 4% compared with 2014.

More than 300 representatives of the international apple and pear sector met at the 39th Prognosfruit Conference on 6th August 2015 in Merano, Italy, where WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association) released the 2015 European apple and pear crop estimates.

The 2015 apple production in the EU will decrease 5% compared with last year’s crop.

The pear crop is predicted by European growers to decrease by 4% compared with 2014. Additionally, the 2015 crop promises to be of good quality given the generally favourable climatic conditions and overall fruit size.

Despite concerns about the difficult conditions at the start of last season, through strong promotional activities, European countries sold their entire crops earlier than planned. However, the Russian embargo, together with the relatively large crop, resulted in an average reduction of 20% in returns to growers, many of whom suffered losses. This occurred despite the support measures made available by the EU which resulted in approximately 250,000 tons of apples and pears being given for free for distribution and the benefit of a considerably lower € to $ exchange rate which helped to increase exports.

Hans van Es, Chairman of the Fruit and Vegetable Committee of Copa-Cogeca, said: “The European apple crop last year was 15% higher than 2013, whilst pears were 5% greater. The industry had to content with the ban imposed by Russia, but despite these two factors, the industry sold the entire crops earlier than expected. The on-going support from the European Commission to alleviate the effects of the Russian embargo is greatly appreciated by the industry. However, the reduction in returns to growers is a considerable concern which unless corrected during the coming season will have an adverse impact on future investment and production.”

Apple forecast

The 2015 European crop forecast for apples is 11.974.000 tons, 5% lower than last year. It should be noted that this volume is 7% higher than the average for the last three years. The estimates for varieties are as follows:

  • Golden Delicious will decrease by 5% to 2.54 million tons
  • Gala will remain stable at 1.33 million tons
  • Idared is forecast to decrease by 7% to 1.11 million tons
  • Red Delicious will increase by 5% to 644,000 tons

Significant changes in other Northern Hemisphere countries are: Russia (+4%), China (+7,5%) and Ukraine (+16%), while production is set to drop in the US (-4%), Switzerland (-4%) and Canada (-26%).

Pear forecast

The total forecast pear crop in 2015 is 2.34 million tons, 4% lower than last year. However, this is 6% higher than the average crop of the last three years.

  • Conference will decrease by 4% to 934,000 tons,
  • Abate Fetel by 7% to 334,000 tons, and
  • William BC by 5% to 262,000 tons.

Elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere crops have either increased compared to last year, as in US (+1%), China (+7,5), Turkey (+36%), Russia (+4%) and Ukraine (+7%); or decreased, as in Switzerland (-11%).

WAPA President Daniel Sauvaitre said: “The prospects for the coming season are better than a year ago. The European crop is slightly lower, European stocks are negligible, there are unlikely to be overhanging stocks from the Southern Hemisphere and considerable progress has been made in developing exports overseas. However, a great concern is the damaging reduction in returns to growers. Most countries have reported increases in consumption which is a very positive trend for the industry and growers deserve to be congratulated on ever improving product quality and the beneficial effects of strong promotional activity.”

WAPA will continue to monitor the development of the Northern Hemisphere crop and issue updates as necessary

Based in Brussels, WAPA was founded in August 2001 with the objectives of providing a forum for discussion on matters of interest to the apple and pear business and initiating recommendations to strengthen the sector. WAPA members include the Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Scandinavia, Slovenia, South Africa, the UK and the US.