With Europe's stonefruit season hotting up faster than a British trade negotiator on a tight deadline, it's worth noting that the market continues to be dominated by four players – Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
As we reported recently, stonefruit production in Europe is expected to be lower this year than in the previous couple of years, affording suppliers some welcome breathing space in a market that has been placed under severe pressure by Russia’s continued ban on EU fruit.
The various infographics provided by the OEC below illustrate where in the world each of the region’s top ten stonefruit exporters landed their produce in 2014: clearly the Russian blockade will have changed the picture considerably for Greece, Turkey, Lithuania and to a lesser extent Spain, but it is also evident that other EU stonefruit suppliers will not necessarily be exposed to such a major market loss as, say, Polish apple exporters have since Moscow imposed its ban.
Interestingly, Europe’s largest stonefruit producer Spain sent 9 per cent of its exports to the continent’s next-largest producer, Italy, in 2014; this despite Italian producers bemoaning the increased competition they face from their Mediterranean neighbour.
Spain and France’s export markets for stonefruit are very much concentrated in western Europe, whereas the data for Italy suggests its market portfolio is more fragmented and includes a larger number of central and eastern European destinations.
Greece, in the meantime, depends far more on eastern Europe – it sent 35 per cent of its peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums to Russia in 2014, with smaller sales to Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Belarus and Poland.
For Turkey, the question of whether or not Russia will rescind its ban in time for stonefruit exporters to sell their fruit there this season remains unanswered, although reports suggest it could be lifted soon.