Although Argentina’s pome fruit sector has no current expectations to ramp up shipments to Russia, an industry spokesperson has said it must consider several important aspects if it does decide to fill the gap left by the U.S. and the EU.
Argentine Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI) executive director Marcelo Loyarte told www.freshfruitportal.com costs and prices would play a key role in where the country’s fruit would end up.
“There is obviously an expectation relating to the ban Russia placed on the EU and the U.S., but it is still a moderate expectation. Very little time has passed since these measures were taken and we need to see what volumes they request and if we are able to supply them,” Loyarte said.
“Obviously, it is possible to create trade, but you have to look at all the demand and also think about the subject of costs and see if they are willing to pay for fruit that has a high shipping cost.”
The fruit produced in Argentina during this time of the year is generally destined for local consumption and for export to Brazil, and so prices in Russia would have to be good enough if exporters were to consider redirecting shipments.
“What you first need to do is set a price, and if it is attractive then you can redirect your exports,” Loyarte said.
Lower volumes, lower prices
Aside from the situation with Russia, Loyarte said that the Argentine pome fruit season that has just come to a close was a relatively disappointing one marked by low European demand.
“This season we exported lower volumes at lower prices,” he said.
“The market behaved with a fairly slow demand which resulted in the reduced volumes and prices. Now we are looking ahead to next season bearing in mind the data that suggests there will be slightly more fruit in the coming year.
“There is still quite a while before the next season, as we’ve only just finished the 2013/14 season, but we’re looking into it.”
Loyarte also said the increased European pome fruit supply this year could possibly upset the strong relation between the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere stocks, which normally transition from one to another fairly smoothly.
“If there is a lot of stock when our fruit arrives, whether that be because less fruit was sold in the European market or because there was an increased production, that impacts on demand, and demand has repercussions in terms of volumes and prices, as we saw this year,” he said.
“We need to see how this conflict pans out in the EU and how they are going to maintain stocks from now till the end of the year.”