China: Higher prices of local apples slowing sales
Apple prices in China recently hit the highest level in nearly five years, but sales have been slow as Chinese consumers turn to cheaper fruits.
Wang Jie from Shanxi Yuncheng Ma Village Jie Zi Fruit Center said: “Affected by the frosts, the production of apples in 2018 has been greatly reduced, and the prices have risen a lot.”
Severe frosts during the springtime led to widespread damage on apple orchards, with volumes in the world's top producing country down by around 30% year-on-year.
The low price of citrus in the Chinese market has also had a "big impact" on the apple market.
“As the Spring Festival approaches, most fruit sellers want to seize the opportunity to sell apples at high prices. However, so far, the sales are not good," he said.
"Things are expected to change after the Spring Festival, as more fruit dealers will choose to sell at a lower price.”
According to Wang Jie, the price of Red Fuji apples 80mm in diameter is a little over RMB 3 (US$0.45) per half kilo - almost RMB1 (US$0.15) higher than the same period last year.
Chinese apple growers are not happy about the rising price, he said, as most of them lost money and only a minority are making a profit.
“Due to the last year's bad weather, about 90% of farmers in Yuncheng, Shanxi Province, suffered from disasters. Many choose to give up planting and go to work in the cities," he said.
“However, there are also many who choose to innovate, take the initiative to eliminate old varieties, and replace them with new ones to strive for better quality, which is expected to bring some positive effects."