U.S. domestic pear oversupply to hit exporters hard
A bumper U.S. crop of Bosc and Bartlett pears is presenting problems for Southern Hemisphere growers who have seen their export window shorten dramatically.
U.S. domestic volumes of Bosc this season have been three times greater than normal, reducing opportunities for Chilean and Argentine exporters.
Bengard Market Chile S.A. general manager Cristian Ramila Hales, said normally Bosc pears would be packed in February and early March for marketing in the U.S. in April, but this had been pushed back to some time in May.
"We are in a tough spot. If Bosc is stored for too long then you get skin punctures and decay. We will cut our export volumes in half," he told www.freshfruitportal.com.
He said if Argentine and Chilean Bosc pears were delayed until May they would then run into competition from other U.S. domestic fruit, such as strawberries and cherries.
He said that in the U.S. Northwest, supply of Bartletts has continued a month later than normal, delaying shipping of this variety from mid-February to mid-March.
This has also narrowed Packham's export window too. This variety is traditionally sent in April and May to plug the gap for large-sized pears before the U.S.'s own domestic supply of Bartlett pears appears in May and June.
He estimated that Argentina's supply of Bartletts is 10-15% lower than the previous season due to hail and bad weather during spring and early summer.
U.S. importer Oppenheimer pipfruit director Dave Nelley agreed the pear market was looking difficult due to a large carry through of stock, but said there was good interest for New Zealand's gold pear variety.
Nelley, however, said he expected a shortage of large 100-sized apple imports into the U.S.
"We think the import market will be short of size 100 Royal Gala particularly in June and July. New Zealand has small-sized galas this season due to a cool spring and a cold and wet summer."
He said Chile's hot December and January meant their apple crop was fine but that some growers were worried about the storage ability of their apples and were keen to ship now.
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