EU apple crop 3.3 per cent lighter than last year, while pear production is down 12.9 per cent
European Union apple production is set to decrease by 3.3 per cent in 2023 compared to last year to 11.410m tonnes. This puts the crop in line with the average of the previous three years (+0.3 per cent).
The forecast was announced by Philippe Binard, secretary general of the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) at the start of Prognosfruit 2023, which is taking place this week in Trentino, Italy and gathers more than 300 delegates from the apple and pear sector from Europe and beyond.
Regarding the main varieties, Golden Delicious is set to increase by 11.7 per cent to 2.167m tonnes. Gala, the second-biggest variety, is expected to grow by 4.8 per cent to 1.5227m tonnes. Production of Red Delicious and Idared, on the other hand, are set to fall by 10 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively.
The EU pear crop for 2023 is estimated to be down 12.9 per cent at 1.746m tonnes. Binard said the decline is due to the stark decrease in Italy’s production (down 63 per cent on 2022) as well as a reduction in the French and Dutch volumes, which have fallen by 28.6 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.
In 2023, the production of Conference pears is forecast to grow 8 per cent to 928.081 tonnes. William BC pear production, on the other hand, is expected to decrease by 36.8 per cent while Abate Fetel’s production is forecasted to plummet to 52,846 tonnes, a drop of 69.3 per cent on 2022.
WAPA said the European trends are similar to those seen in other Northern Hemisphere countries such as China (whose apple crop will remain stable at 37.2m tonnes), and the US where production is set to dip by 3.6 per cent to 4.5m tonnes.
India’s apple crop is also expected to decrease by more than 30 per cent to 1.9m tonnes. Pear production in the US is forecasted to decline by 3.7 per cent to 502,000 tonnes, while China’s is projected to increase by 10 per cent to 17.6m tonnes.
Binard commented: “The season is starting on a positive background based on a relatively low crop, no overlap with the Southern Hemisphere, empty stocks from the previous season, and the ongoing renovation of orchards. We will need to continue monitoring the climatic conditions, as well as mitigating pests and diseases, while dealing with geopolitical and market access issues”.
Looking ahead, Binard noted: “There will be great opportunities to stimulate apple and pear consumption in the upcoming season, while raising the prices to match the quality and the environmental, nutritional, and health benefits of apples and pears”.