Southern Hemisphere pome fruit forecast cut following adverse weather

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Southern Hemisphere pome fruit forecast cut following adverse weather

Summer in the Southern Hemisphere has brought along intense weather events this year, affecting several producing countries, and causing a decrease in projected volumes for the season. 

The World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) has released an update of the Southern Hemisphere apple and pear crop forecast that was originally presented during Fruit Logistica on Feb. 8-10.

The yearly WAPA report, which shows the forecast for the upcoming season, gathers data and is supported by the national associations of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa, the six leading producing countries in the hemisphere. 

According to the revised forecast, apple production is set to increase by 2% to reach 5 million tons, while pear production is expected to decrease by 1.2% to a total of 1.3 million tons. 

The initial forecast for the 2023 season, which estimated a 6% and 1% increase for apples and pears respectively compared to 2022, was revised in light of the intense weather events that affected several countries in the Southern Hemisphere. 

New Zealand and South Africa’s apple crop forecasts have been revised downward by 77,902 tons and 77,276 tons respectively. New Zealand’s pear crop estimates have also been slightly decreased compared to the initial forecast (-323 tons), as well as South Africa’s (- 28.726 tons). 

Regarding apples, the updated Southern Hemisphere 2023 crop forecast suggests an increase of 2% to a total of 4.9 million tons compared to last year’s 4.8 million. 

A smaller apple crop of 457,000 tons is expected in New Zealand, 9% less compared to 2022. In Australia, 8% smaller than in 2022, with a total of 290.000 tons. 

South Africa is forecast to produce 1.1 million tons, down 5% year-on-year, while Chile remains the largest producer with 1.4 million tons, in line with 2022, followed by Brazil with 1.1 million tons, up 12% year-on-year. 

Furthermore, Argentina’s apple production should reach 525,000 tons, a 24% increase from 2022. 

Exports are also expected to decrease by 3% year-on-year, down to a total of  1.6 million tons. Chile remains the largest exporter with 604,000 tons, followed by South Africa (509,158 tons), whose exports are forecasted to decrease by 10%. 

Exports from New Zealand (286,823 tons) and Australia (2.687 tons) are also expected to decrease by 15% and 1% respectively.

Exports from Brazil (70,000 tons) and Argentina (84,000 tons), on the other hand, are expected to recover from the low 2022 figures. With 1.8 million tons, Gala remains by far the most popular variety, with its production expected to increase by 4% compared to 2022. 

Regarding pears, the Southern Hemisphere growers predict a slight decrease of 1% in the crop, dropping to 1.3 million tons. 

While Argentina and Chile are expected to increase their production by 4% and 2% respectively, South Africa’s,  Australia’s, and New Zealand’s production levels are all expected to decrease by 6%, 16%, and 19% percent, respectively. 

Argentina remains the largest producer in the Southern Hemisphere with 592,000 tons, followed by South Africa (477,419), Chile (170,000 ), Australia (72,016 ), and New Zealand (8,120). 

Packham’s Triumph remains the most-produced variety with 481 thousand tons, in line with 2022,  followed by Williams' bon chrétien pears (332,447). Export figures are expected to be stable (670,054 tons), with a 12%  increase in Argentinian exports and a 13% decrease in exports from South Africa. 

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