In spite of this slight drop, the 2023-2024 season’s harvest is in line with average of the 3 previous years (+0.3%). Regarding the main varieties, GoldenDelicious will increase by 11.7%, reaching a total of 2,167,899 tonnes. Gala, the second most important variety, will grow by 4.8% (1,527,179 tonnes in total), while it is foreseen that both in Red Delicious and in ldared the production will drop by 10% and 6.1%, respectively.
In pears, the figures for the EU as a whole reflect a 12.9% drop in the harvest compared to last season, placing the total production at 1,745,632 tonnes. This decrease is due to the important drop in Italy (63% compared to 2022), as well as reductions in volumes by France and Holland (28.6% and 3.1%, respectively).
In 2023, it is estimated that Conference pear production will increase by 8%, reaching 928,081 tonnes. The production of William BC, on the other hand, is expected to drop by 36.8%, and the same occurs with Abate Fetel, with an important nosedive in production, putting the harvest at 52,846 tonnes and meaning 69.3% less compared to the previous year.
The rest of the world
The European trends are similar to those in other countries in the northern hemisphere, such as China, where the apple harvest will remain stable at 37.2 million tonnes; while the USA expects an apple harvest of 4.5 million tonnes: 3.6% less than in 2022. Apple production in India is also expected to drop by over 30% (1.9 million tonnes in total).
Regarding the pear forecasts, the USA is also showing lower figures, with a total harvest of 502,000 tonnes, meaning a 3.7% drop compared to 2022. China is announcing a production of 17.6 million tonnes, that is tosay, 10% more compared to the previous campaign. At the WAPA, these figures are being read, according to its General Secretary, Philippe Binard, as a “positive” start to the campaign, based on a relatively low harvest, without any overlapping with the southern hemisphere, without any stock left over from the previous campaign and with the renewal of the plantations underway.However, during his speech Binard indicated that “the weather conditions, mitigating pests and diseases and facing up to the effects that geopolitical questions could have as well access to the markets will all have to be watched.” Looking to the future, the General Secretary of the WAPA pointed out that there will be “great opportunities” for stimulating apple and pear consumption during this new season, at the same time as rising pricesto ensure they match the quality and environmental, nutritional and healthy benefits that these two pip fruits have.
Luc Vanoirbeek fromCopa-Cogecamade some of the sector’s next priorities clear. “In the first place, climate change will be the most important challenge for the survival of farming, particularly for apples and pears. Regarding volumes, the low figures for stock from the previous campaign,combined with the lower production from the first harvest, are reasons to be moderately optimistic. Putting the amount to one side, we must concentrate on the quality and on how to effectively communicate to increase apple and pear consumption, which are both excellent products that are in line with the EU’s Green Deal and From Farm to Fork Strategy ambitions regarding sustainability and health.”
Within this context, Vanoirbeek added that “the value and the performance of the production prices must be raised to cover the increase in costs and, at the same time, boost the yield for the producers.” Based on their benefits for health, nutrition and the environment, “the sector must concentrate on the quality to guarantee enough room for the marketing and a marketing strategy on the shelves in the stores and supermarkets. The quality is stable compared to other products and, consequently, consumers never feel disappointed.”