Apple production in Korea is this year forecast to fall to 450,000 tonnes, down from last year's bumper 479,000 tonne crop which was boosted by favourable weather conditions, according to a new report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Consumer varietal demand remains geared toward Fuji apples, which accounts for 70 per cent of the total planted area of 30,000ha, followed by Hongro (8 per cent), Tsuaru (8 per cent) and Kogetsu (2 per cent).
The apple trade faces increasing competition from imported fresh fruits such as pineapples, grapes and bananas, the USDA said, although apple imports remain prohibited on phytosanitary grounds.
In terms of exports, 90 per cent of the 3,174 tonnes of apples that were shipped abroad in 2008 went to Taiwan, with a small percentage also heading to the Russian market, and this is expected to continue in 2009.
Exports are currently limited due to prices, which remain high despite growing competition from imported and domestic fruit, the USDA said.