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OVERVIEW GLOBAL PEAR MARKET

Western Cape, South Africa, was hit by a heat wave. According to growers, the winter conditions have suddenly turned into summer ones. Currently the trees are still in bloom, so the impact of the heat is still unclear.

France: Stable prices
Only small volumes of pears are being harvested in France. These are often sold quickly, says a trader, and a large part is intended for the domestic market. Things are going well in the market. "Prices are stable and we have nothing to complain about." The country's production prospects were reduced from 135,000 tons to 134,000 tons.

The production of the French Angelisse pear is expected to grow rapidly in a few years and exporters are therefore looking for new markets. The pear is highly suitable to be exported because of its long shelf life.

The Netherlands: Pears are larger than expected
At the moment, the sale of pears is not going as planned. Traders say that the supply is currently too large for prices to go up. In most places in the Netherlands, apart from Zeeland and Limburg, the pears are large and many growers have a bigger production than expected. This situation is in contrast with that of Belgium, where growers have not been able to irrigate and small pears predominate. At the beginning of the campaign, the price of size 55 pears in Belgium stood at around 25 cents. That price has since increased, but the prospect that the size 65 would reach 75 cents has long been discarded.

Portugal promoting the Rocha
In order to give a boost to the popularity of the traditional Portuguese Rocha pear, the variety is being promoted in the streets of Paris between 24 and 30 October. With this, the Portuguese Association of Rocha Pear Producers hopes the pear to become better known among French consumers. France is the fourth largest export destination for the fruit, accounting for 13,400 tonnes in the 2017/2018 season. Only Brazil (23,200 tons), Morocco (20,100 tons) and the United Kingdom (15,900 tons) are larger markets in terms of export volume. Currently, about 60% of the pears are exported.

Czech Republic: A lot of fruit, but small sizes
The Eastern European country reports a 25% drop compared to the previous estimate. With this, the harvest will amount to 8,000 tons. The persistent dry weather since April has taken a toll on the harvest, which this year is characterized by the predominance of small sizes. As a result, a greater volume will go to the processing industry.

Brits pick average harvest
The British pear harvest is on par with the average of the last ten years. Due to the heat in the summer, the harvest period has been shortened; however, that favorable weather has also resulted in the harvest being larger than last year, when part of the harvest was hit by frost. For now the sizes are smaller, but there is probably still data to be processed. Growers without the capacity to irrigate are clearly the most affected by this. Thanks to the hot, long summer and the rains at the right time, the taste of the pears is good, according to a trader.

Germany: High price pressure a disadvantage for domestic production
The Italian production is the one that currently dominates in the German wholesale markets. The varieties Abate Fetel, Santa Maria and Williams Christ are eagerly demanded. Within the German pear market, it is currently very difficult to sell the domestic harvest. This has everything to do with the high price pressure from Belgium and the Netherlands, whose wholesale prices lie approximately 0.10 Euro per kilo below the German ones. German traders therefore claim that current prices are not profitable for domestic producers. There are also some Spanish Abate Fetels and Turkish Deveci pears available. Both products are currently offered mainly as a complement and have no significant market share.

Italian season starts quietly
The start of the pear season is, as has been the case for several years in a row, quiet in terms of sales. The long period with high temperatures has stimulated the consumption of summer fruit at the expense of autumn fruit. Exports are not very lively. On the domestic market, Italian pears are preferred to imports.

At the European level, Conference pears have been on the rise over the last ten years, mostly due to growing cultivation in Belgium and the Netherlands. The Conference accounts for about 40% of the market. This growth has happened at the expense of traditional varieties. In Italy, the Abate Fetel has strengthened its position in recent years. The Williams shows stability, but the Conference is recording growth. The harvest of the red Falstaff pear has been good this year, even though the acreage has been reduced by 70 hectares. Due to the small volumes, the pear is marketed in a targeted manner.

South Africa: Western Cape affected by early heat wave
The Western Cape is plagued by persistent heat. Temperature records have been broken in recent days. This comes after a cold period in August and September. Growers say that this year the spring has been skipped. The winter has gone straight into summer.

The early pears had an early start after a warm July. Because of the cold in the months after, the flowering was uneven. Later varieties suffered less from the heat in July. The actual impact of the heat is not yet clear, as it is still too early in the season. In an early estimate, growers talk about perhaps a slightly later start of the campaign and an average production. The heat puts pressure on the water reserves, but according to the weather forecast, there are rainy and cooler days ahead.

US: High demand from export markets
The harvest is larger than previously estimated. The prospect in the Northwest pointed to 20 million boxes. "This is a good year for us," says a trader. This year, we'll have 4 million boxes more than last year, but last year the harvest was smaller. The weather conditions have been favorable and after a year with a small harvest, a larger harvest usually follows. "The quality of the pears is excellent," says the trader. Most of the production will probably consist of sizes 80 and 90. Currently, exports are the market's biggest driver. Mexico, Brazil and Canada are three major buyers of the fruit.

Australia: New label for exports
The sector has presented a new brand: Goulburn River Gold. Moreover, the Frank variety was presented at Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong earlier this year. With this, the sector has attracted the attention of international buyers. Goulburn River Gold is a premium label for Packham pears grown in the Goldburn Valley. The growers are thus targeting new export markets. Traders saw a lot of interest during the fair in the red pear ANP0131, formerly known as Deliza. The pear was presented, but is still under development.

According to Hort Innovation, 108,065 tonnes of pears were harvested in the year ending June 2017. 41% of these were processed. The production generated a turnover of 122.9 million dollars, an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. As for the fresh market, there are three varieties that dominate: the Packham (63%), the Williams (20%) and the Beurré Bosc (10%).

Chinese pear production down; prices on the rise
This year, the pear production has dropped considerably, mostly due to the bad weather recorded earlier in the year. It is estimated that production has dropped by about 30% to 50% this year. As in the case of apples, pear prices are now also rising. The price of certain pear varieties has even doubled, but the quality is good. The export of Chinese pears to the US continues, even though a price increase has been announced for the New Year. The current tariff on the import of Chinese apples is now 10% and this will go up from 1 January. The supply of pears in December is also expected to increase considerably, as it will happen just before the introduction of the new tariff. Other companies have decided not to export this year, because the high prices make it difficult to compete on the international market. Since domestic prices are good, they can also sell their production there.

Turkey: better quality pears, but mostly local demand
In Turkey the production has increased slightly due to the climate changes. The quality of the pears is good, they look nice. This is a big improvement from last year, as they quality wasn't great. Locally the demand for the Turkish pears is good, but when it comes to export South African varieties seem to be more popular than the Turkish ones. The Deveci, Santa Maria and Nachi varieties are getting more popular though.


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