European apple and pear production up in 2011 -

European apple and pear production up in 2011

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European apple and pear production up in 2011

Southern Hemisphere exporters will likely face increased competition in Europe next season, with the continent expected to raise apple and pear volumes by 11% and 12% respectively this year.

The World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) forecasts a European Union apple crop of 10.195 million metric tons (MT), which is still 5% lower than the average over the last three years.

Golden Delicious and Gala varieties are expected to rise 5% and 7% respectively, with a combined total of 3.59 million MT. Jonagold apple production is set to rise by 14% to 594,000MT, while Red Delicious production will likely fall 4% to 635,000MT.

A total pear crop of 2.53 million MT is expected, driven largely by an 8% rise in Conference variety production. WAPA estimates William BC volumes will rise 8% to 307,000MT, while Abate Fetel pear volumes could go up by 66% to 370,000MT.

Outside the European Union, countries such as the Ukraine, Turkey and the U.S. have grown pear production by 25%, 3% and 7% respectively.

"Overall across Europe, an early blossom is leading to an anticipation of the crops by 1 or 2 weeks depending on the region. Climatic conditions have overall been favourable which should enhance quality and size," the report said.

"Besides, the new season is due to start with no stock handover from last season, and expected limited overlap or discrepancies due to Southern Hemisphere production given moderate import into the EU."

The European Union's biggest apple-producing countries are expected to be Poland (2.3 million MT), Italy (2.1 million MT) and France (1.66 million MT). The largest pear-producing countries are forecast to be Italy (886,000MT), Spain (427,000MT) and Belgium (308,000MT).

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