Argentine pome fruit industry expects better year in 2013

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Argentine pome fruit industry expects better year in 2013

In 2012 the Argentine pome fruit industry was hit by hail and strikes, which combined with a higher presence of pears in Europe led to export lows that hadn't been seen in eight years. This year the outlook is very different, with conducive weather in the Río Negro and Neuquén provinces and less fruit in destination markets. Argentine Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI) executive director Marcelo Loyarte tells how the industry is getting back to normal this year. manzanas y peras_8605807 _ small

Loyarte expects production of 1.7 million metric tons (MT) in apples and pears this year, following good weather without difficulties.

"Last year the hail affected many hectares in the region. This year, luckily up until now, there haven't been many affected," he says.

While a normal harvest is expected in terms of volume, the executive says rising costs are still a difficulty.

"Really we have the same problem again - the growth in costs continues to be very high in terms of the behavior of other markets."

"While it is true that markets have performed very well in terms of the development of prices, they will not sufficiently good to cover the rise in costs that the Argentine fruit industry has."

When asked about recent stoppages from Río Negro fruit workers recently, Loyarte says they did not impact pear harvests as the halt only occurred for a few hours during negotiations.

"Luckily an agreement was finally reached.

"Right now the harvest is developing normally. Packing plants have started processing pears and have started making the first shipments at departure points.

"The first boats are now starting to leave to destination markets."

Loyarte says the lack of fruit on the European market is good news for Argentina. However, concerns remain over whether prices will be good enough for the South American country.

When asked about Brazil, which shut down imports of Argentine apples for several months last year, Loyarte says the export dynamic to the neighboring giant is back to normal.

"It's not the ideal situation because there is still some paperwork for the export of apples, but it is better than complicated situation we lived through in June-July last year.

"Hopefully we will not have problems like we had last year because it would be really difficult to return to face the same situation."

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