Apricot production in Europe is expected to fall this year, according to new forecasts published at the Europêch meeting in Perpignan, with volumes set to fall 11 per cent on last year, and 16 per cent on the average for 2010-2014, to around 443,000 tonnes.
A generally mild winter is understood to have contributed to the decrease, with a number of isolated frosts reported from late February into March, particularly in Murcia, Spain.
In other countries, including Italy, blossoming was affected by rain and falls in temperature, while in France during April there were a number of hailstorms.
Greece has forecast apricot production of 54,800 tonnes, slightly below the five-year average but putting the country back on track following last season’s 30,900-tonne crop.
In Italy, a predicted volume of 163,000 tonnes will be down 19 per cent on the previous campaign, mainly as a result of a 30 per cent fall in output in the south of the country.
Spain, meanwhile, is anticipating a crop of around 110,000 tonnes, just 1 per cent higher than in 2015 but 32 per cent up on the average for 2010-2014.
According to representatives in the country, new Spanish production has compensated for any damage done to production by the aforementioned frosts.
Last but not least, France’s weather-affected apricot production is estimated to be just under 115,600 tonnes this year, down 26 per cent year on year and 27 per cent below the five-year average.
Commenting on the figures, Elisa Macchi of Italian agency CSO said that apricot production was attracting more and more interest from growers across Europe.
“In fact, we’re seeing an increase in planted area in Spain as well as in Italy, with varietal renewal also in Greece and France,” she commented.
“The situation we see today is only a provisional indication of the current state of production, and this will be updated with more precise figures between the end of May and the start of June.”