Japan’s cherry crop rebounds
Japan registers fall in fruit consumption amidst high prices
The first half of 2020 saw fruit prices in Japan at their highest levels for a decade. The soaring prices have no doubt contributed to the drop in fruit consumption. Between January and June 2020, the average price of fruit in Japan was US$4.86/kg, compared with US$4.34/kg for the period since 2011, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. So, as demand has fallen, the average Japanese household spend on fruit has risen. Fruit consumption has dropped to 31.5kg per household, the second-lowest total since 2011 and 5.5% lower than the ten-year average.
Japan’s fruit imports grow despite higher prices
Despite the current global logistics problems, Japan’s fresh fruit imports were up 1.3% in March compared with the previous year, according to Japan's Ministry of Finance. The country imported almost 135,000 tons of fresh fruit in March 2020, despite rising prices. Japanese households purchased on average 5.61kg of fruit in March 2020, up 2.5% from the previous year. Meanwhile, expenditure increased 5.3% to US$27.
Westfalia Fruit sends Colombian avocados to Japan
After years of hard work, a container carrying 16 tonnes of quality Colombian Hass avocados has been exported from Westfalia Fruit Colombia (WFC) to Yokohama, Japan. This is the first time that WFC has shipped avocados to the country.
“Colombia’s avocados are in such good condition that WFC is confident shipping avocados to markets that require longer transit times – including Japan, Russia and the Middle East,” says WFC General Manager, and newly elected Vice Chairperson of the Colombian Avocado Board, Pedro Aguilar.
Agreement opens opportunities for US fruit in Japan
Japanese supermarket giant Aeon, in online grocery push
Prices of US produce drop in Japanese retailers
Following the signing of a new FTA between Japan and the US, Japanese retailers have moved promptly to slash prices of US fresh produce. The new trade deal was signed in October 2019, but only came into effect on 1 January 2020. The major beneficiary of the agreement was the fresh produce sector, with the tariffs eliminated on blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, broccoli and prunes. Other products which will see a staggered elimination of tariffs include fresh cherries and oranges.
Japan’s cherry production continues to fall
Japan’s cherry production fell 5% in the 2018/19 campaign five to 18,100 tons, of which 16,200 tons was commercially distributed, according to FAS/Tokyo data. For the 2019/20 campaign, a further drop of 6% (to 17,000 tons) is predicted. The causes of this shrinkage are a slightly reduced acreage and the colder temperatures recorded during flowering in Yamagata prefecture, Japan’s main production area.
Decline in Japan’s peach output
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.
South Africa spies openings for citrus in Japan
South Africa has seen a general decline in shipments of citrus to Japan. Since 2013, citrus volumes (mainly grapefruit) shipped to the Asian country have slipped from 62,000 pallets per year to 41,000 pallets. Japan represents a key grapefruit market for South African, with trade between the two countries stretching back to the 1970s. South Africa is now looking to increase exports of other citrus varieties. South Africa has been applying for a review of the protocol and the cold treatment requirements with no response as yet from Japan.