It’s going to be a Bumper Apple Crop for Europe

Aug 10, 2018 | Apples, Buyers, Suppliers |

According to European fresh produce association Freshfel, the European Union’s apple growers are anticipating a bumper crop for the 2018/19 season.

In 2017, severe frosts across much of the continent led to one of the smallest crops in years with volumes falling 21% year-on-year to 9.34 million metric tons. This year, however, production has recovered and Freshfel’s Philippe Binard told Fresh Fruit Portal the crop would be “very strong”.

Binard said. “No doubt that this year there will be very strong apple crop.” He also said that the heat wave and low rainfall across many parts of Europe over recent weeks would not have a major effect on the crop but may lead to slightly smaller sizing. He did highlight, however, that even though the fruit would not be picked until September/October, there were various factors that could influence the crop’s progress during this time.

What does present a challenge for marketing the apple crop this year though, is the fact that the European Commission is phasing out its financial support measures. And with the fruit and vegetable sector hardest hit in Europe (€2.5 billion of produce was previously sent to the market on an annual basis), the apple market is suffering oversupply issues in the aftermath.

Binard said, “To reposition the market is not something which is very easy,” adding that Freshfel was calling on the EC to reconsider the withdrawal of the program. He also said that with last year’s Russian market closure it had not been a big issue as the frosts in April/May resulted in a shorter crop. But with this year’s bumper crop – it will be more challenging.

He also said trade would be limited to North African countries such as Algeria and Egypt due to numerous issue, the frosts in China and tariffs on US apples for some of its biggest markets could create some opportunities for European growers. In addition, China and Mexico have implemented substantially higher tariffs on US apples, and India is set to do the same in September.

Said Binard, “I think there is a number of elements which will play a role for the development of the season … India is a market that has been developing progressively for a number of European products including apples, so I think next year indeed there will be a number of parameters that will be different from other seasons.”

The official crop forecast from the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) was released at Prognosfruit Conference in Poland.