On a yearly basis, the European apple and pear producers gather at the Prognosfruit conference to discuss the state of their industry. This article analyzes the recent trends of the apple and pear industry within the European Union.
Apple and Pear Production in the European Union
The European Union is a major producer of consumer fruits, such as apples and pears. Over the last decade, apple production has increased by approximately 10%. For 2016, European aggregate production is expected to be of 12 million metric tons, which includes some 150.000 tons of organic apples. This number is slightly lower than the 12.3 million metric tons produced during 2015. At the same time, pear production has decreased by approximately 9% over the last three years. The EU member states are expected to produce 2.1 million metric tons of pears on 2016, which is lower than the 2.4 million tons produced during 2015.
When compared to the yields from the period 2013 through 2015, the national apple production for 2016 is expected to increase the most in Poland and Germany. Poland produced some 4 million metric tons of apples on 2015 and is expected to produce 4.2 million tons by the end of 2016. In the case of Germany, 973.000 metric tons were the total yield for 2015, while 2016 should reach 1.1 million tons. Similarly, Greece’s production this year is expected to increase to 263.000 metric tons, from 242.000 tons in 2015.
In terms of production decrease for apple orchards, Hungary, Portugal, and Belgium have witnessed the sharpest falls since 2013. Hungary’s 2016 total apple production is expected at 449.000 metric tons, compared to 522.000 in 2015. Similarly, Portugal’s production is expected to decrease from 329.000 metric tons in 2015 to 263.000 tons in 2016. Meanwhile, Belgium should produce 234.000 metric tons of apples in 2016, when it had previously yielded 285.000 tons in 2015.
Contrary to apples, whose aggregate production within the EU has actually increased in recent years, pear production has decreased. Unlike the apple sector, where the losses in the production of some member states have been compensated by increased yields in others, pears have only witnessed marginal growth in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Compared to 2015, the Netherlands will increase their pear output by 3.000 metrics tons in 2016, reaching a total of 352.000 tons of production. Similarly, pear production in the UK is expected to increase from 25.000 to 28.000 metrics tons between 2015 and 2016. During the same time, Italy’s pear production has gone from 764.000 metric tons in 2015 to 678.000 tons in 2016. Likewise, Spanish production has decreased from 344.000 to 303.000 metric tons between 2015 and 2016.
Based on data from the years between 2006 and 2011, the production of all pear varieties have been decreasing for at least a decade. The variety that has experienced the sharpest decrease in overall harvesting over the last several years has been the Durondeau pear. Meanwhile, the Conference pear variety has only experienced a minimal decrease in cultivation. These medium-term market trends within the apples and pear industry in Europe can be mainly attributed to changing consumer preferences and the higher transportation costs for pears, which lead to significant differences in markets prices.