Low volumes, prices for Argentine pear season

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Low volumes, prices for Argentine pear season

Problems in the Argentine pear industry seem to be persisting for at least another season, as volumes drop by around 20% and exporters face low prices in key export markets. 

The South American country's pome fruit sector has been plague by low profitability over recent years.

"There is a significant drop in export volumes, particularly for pears. The season also started earlier than the previous one," Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI) executive director Marcelo Loyarte told Fresh Fruit Portal.

He partly attributed the production decline to late frosts that affected the flowering period, as well as the fact that some commercial operations were discontinued due to production costs exceeding market prices.

Argentina has already finished the pear harvest, but exports will continue to global markets through July and to neighboring Brazil for the rest of the year.

The representative said under normal conditions some 600,000-700,000 metric tons (MT) of pears would be produced, but the figure and export total were both expected to drop by around 20% this year.

The pear industry's main markets are the European Union, Russia, and Brazil, with Williams being the leading variety, but Loyarte also pointed out the U.S. was an attractive market for organic pears.

"The U.S. is important. it has normally been the best market in terms of prices especially for organic fruit, and is our main importer for this type of fruit," he said.

However, international prices are lower than last year.

"The prices are not good, they are lower than last year despite there being less pear stock in the destination markets, and this is an issue we have to monitor. There are still a lot of pear exports to oversee," he said.

"The first shipments did not fetch the prices we had hoped for, but we are going to see how the season evolves."

Fruit quality has been good, Loyarte said, frosts in some growing regions meant there has been high volumes of lower class pears. 

Both the apple and pear industries are also trying to boost exports to India, he added.

"The import tariffs are very high, and so we cannot compete," he said.

"As for China, this is our third year, but the phytosanitary protocol is very complicate and the prices are not attractive so the volumes are small."

In the Brazilian market Loyarte was hopeful that in the second half of the year demand may outstrip supply.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com





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