Argentine apple and pear business recovering
The Argentine apple and pear market is projecting an approximate 14% increase year-on-year in production volume, as improved climate conditions helped the sector recover from a low 2022.
The Argentine Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI) estimates figures of around 500,000 tons for the upcoming season, coming closer to 2020 volumes.
FreshFruitPortal.com spoke to Miguel Sabbadini, CAFI’s technical manager, who confirms that 2022 was a difficult year for apple growers, as most growing regions had to deal with frosts and hail.
"We estimate that production will not reach the values of 2021, which were 497,000 tons. This year I think we will be close to the production of 2020 at around 578,000 tons" says Sabbadini.
Regarding exports, the executive says that the EU used to be their main destination market for pears, but that is now mostly supplied by Belgium.
As for apples, he indicates that the industry is working on better clones of Red Delicious, "since the domestic market is used to a grained-textured apple. Now we are struggling with inclement weather such as extreme sunshine.”
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Annual domestic per capita apple and pear consumption sits at around 15 pounds and CAFI is working on boosting it further through marketing efforts such as social media and national television campaigns.
Sabbadini says that Brazil, Mexico, the U.S., Colombia, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Panama and Russia are currently among their main destination markets for apples.
"In the last few years the European market has been decreasing participation, so we currently export some organic apples and Pink cripps as we have availability," he adds.
The exchange rate is also among the difficulties faced by the sector, as the official dollar value is approximately 50% of the market purchase value.
“In recent years the official dollar has been falling behind and input costs have gone up as well as labor costs, and this means that we are faced with a very cheap dollar to charge," Sabbadini says.
According to data provided by the National Agrifood Health and Quality Service of Argentina (SENASA) there was a total apple growing area of 41,570 acres in 2022.
Around 83% of this acreage is located the Río Negro province, which involves 1,260 local apple producers.