Slight dip in Europe's forecast apple and pear harvests

EU growers will harvest 4 per cent lower volumes of apples and 3 per cent less pears this season compared to last year's bumper harvest, though the figures for both are still above the average for the last three years.

image: Hans Splinter
image: Hans Splinter

Figures released at this week's Prognosfruit industry event in Italy gave an estimated figure for apple production across the 28 member states at 11,974,000 tonnes, with pears at 2,343,000 tonnes.

Among individual apple varieties:

  • Golden Delicious remains by far the most widely grown, at 2.55m tonnes, a figure that has remained roughly constant for a decade;
  • Gala, in second place, continues its gradual year-on-year increase, to 1.33m tonnes;
  • Bramley's is the variety to undergo the sharpest fall, to 53,000 tonnes, its lowest in nine years;
  • the long-term decline of Cox continues, from 117,000 tonnes in 2006 to 31,000 tonnes forecast this year;
  • other Continental varieties in apparent decline include Cortland, Jonathan, Lobo and Stayman;
  • those showing strongest growth include the resurgent Boskoop, Cripps Pink (marketed as Pink Lady), Fuji, Pinova and Red Jonaprince;
  • "other new varieties" account for nearly 4 per cent of production.

Pear production remains dominated by Conference, which at 934,000 tonnes is holding up more strongly than Doyenne du Comice and Abate Fetel, which will see falls of 10 and 7 per cent respectively.

Reporting the figures, the Dutch Fruit Growers Organisation (Nederlandse Fruittelers Organisatie, NFO) described the overall harvest estimates for apples as "large" and for pears as "normal", adding: "For the Netherlands, it is important that the estimate of the apple harvest in Germany is 21 per cent lower than last year. This gives our country prospects for the German market."

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