European Union apple and orange production suffer a steep decline

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European Union apple and orange production suffer a steep decline

The latest 2024 European Commission report shows a steep decline in apple and orange production due to unfavorable weather conditions which caused poor quality fruit in main citrus and apple-producing countries like Poland, Spain, Italy, and France.

According to the report, which studies the current trade state of affairs, prices, and overall economy through an agricultural lens, weather conditions have been unfavorable for winter crops and more positive for spring sowing conditions.

The production decline created a ripple effect that reduced exports and negatively impacted both apple and orange consumption. 

EU production of apples in 2023/24 is estimated a 3-year low due to area reductions and weather adversity.

In total, 7.1 million tons of apples are expected to be used for fresh consumption, a decrease of 5.7% year on year, and 4.1 million tons for processing, a decrease of 5.2%. European Union exports of fresh apples are expected to decrease by 15% in 2023/24 due to reduced production.

Apple consumption of fresh apples is also seeing a decline of 6.3% to 11.1 million tons. The decrease is mainly driven by a lower harvest in main production countries like Germany.

In northern EU, like Germany, winter crops have been affected by overly wet conditions during winter. The country is seeing the third lowest apple harvest of the past ten years, around 941,200 tonnes of apples were harvested in 2023, 12.1% less than 1.1 million tonnes in 2022.

Orange output level is also projected to suffer a steep decline. Production is estimated to fall by 5.4% year on year, 5.6 million tons, more than expected in the previous organization's short-term outlook, leading to a decline in both fresh consumption and exports.

The decline was mainly driven by Spain's harvest having high levels of acidity and low overall quality due to draughts. The adverse weather caused an overall decline in production of 11% and is expected to be the lowest orange output in the EU in the last ten years.

Due to low production of fresh oranges and inflation in fruit prices, EU per capita consumption of the citrus is expected to drop 12.2 kg in 2023/24. EU imports of fresh oranges are expected to grow. 

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