Argentine pome fruit season off to 'normal' start

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Argentine pome fruit season off to 'normal' start

In what has been a relatively normal season to date, Argentina kicked off its pome fruit harvest last week, beginning with the Giffard pear variety.Pears box

Initial estimates place apple and pear volume for the season slightly under last year. Until now, the season has gone off without any major reported glitches and growers are gearing up for peak production time, said Marcelo Loyarte, executive director of the Argentine Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI).

"The pear that is harvested in the greatest quantity, the Williams pear, begins next Monday and with that we will be in full swing for the 2014 harvest," Loyarte said.

Thanks to favorable climatic conditions, Loyarte added that production this season should remain at the same levels last year.

"We hope to have volume similar to last year with a slight drop of approximately 2% for pears and 3% for apples," he said.

"We've been lucky compared to last year. We've had good climatic conditions and haven't had any hail. So we hope the harvest will continue forward normally."

Asked about the causes behind the decline in production, Loyarte said that climate is one factor but the major factor was less flowering.

For pears, about 65%-70% of the fruit will be exported, 20% sold to the internal market and 15%-20% processed for juicing, he said.

Argentina sends its pome fruit to a total of 60 countries, including Russia, the European Union and Brazil.

"We are working on opening new markets. It is a long task since opening new markets means establishing phytosantitary protocol and tariffs," Loyarte said.

For apples, the harvest date has yet to be established for this season.

"There is a committee run by the private and public sector that monitors the evolution of characteristics such as maturity and sugar to establish the correct moment of harvest," Loyarte said.


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