Argentina will see a boom in yields of apples, pears and table grapes during 2009, with overall production jumping to 1.84m tonnes from the previous season's 1.8m tonnes as a result of favourable weather conditions. However, exports will fall as the global economic crisis takes hold.
That is the verdict of a new GAIN report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which pegs apple production at 970,000 tonnes (up from 940,000 tonnes in 2008), pear production at 720,000 tonnes (710,000 in 2008) and table grape production at 155,000 tonnes (150,000 in 2008).
Planted area for both apples and table grapes is forecast to increase in 2009, with pear production area remaining constant at 27,000ha.
The upswing in 2009's crop volumes follows a frost-hit 2008 campaign, which saw the apple yield fall from 1.1m tonnes in 2007 and pears drop from 730,000 tonnes.
In contrast with the growth in production, total exports of apples, pears and table grapes are expected to decrease as a result of falling demand in the current economic climate.
Export volumes are forecast to drop to 800,000 tonnes during 2009 with the devaluation of local currencies in key export markets such as Brazil, Russia and the EU a key factor, although this could be partially offset by a poor apple and pear harvest in northern hemisphere countries such as Italy and Belgium, the USDA said.