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España 25/06/2024

Benelux now Europe's largest pear producer

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Spain and Italy have lost more than half of their production potential in recent years. Italy was the main European pear producer a few years ago with around 900,000 tonnes, followed by Spain with around 650,000 tonnes. In recent years these countries have lost more than half of their production potential, unlike the Belgium-Dutch tandem. These two emerging countries, specialised in onference pears, have doubled their production from 200,000t each to 400,000t since 2000. Portugal, with its Rocha pear, has also managed to overtake France and, with a production potential of approximately 200,000t, it is now the fifth European pear producing country.


Catalonia could lose up to 33% of its production by 2024

According to data presented today by AFRUCAT, the Catalan Fruit Business Association, and the Catalan agriculture authorities (DACC), estimates show that Catalonia will lose 33% of its entire pear crop this season with about 80,426 tons of production. The data, which will be presented at the European Interpera congress on Thursday 27th June in Portugal, shows a general decline in all varieties with the exception of the Blanquilla pear which is recovering, with a 20% increase in its crop, from the drop in production it suffered last season. This drop in production is largely due to the after-effects of the drought in spring 2023 and the heat of last summer and this winter. The water stress of the pear trees at certain times, especially in the pre-harvest period, triggers problems in the following year's flower induction. This has resulted in a generalised decrease in flowering and poor fruit set, which has led to an abundant physiological drop.


A generalised lack of pears in the markets

Manel Simon, Managing Director of Afrucat, affirms, "we believe that this should be a friendly season for growers. We foresee that this downturn will not only be in Catalonia and that there will be a generalised lack of some pear varieties on the market which should allow fruit growers to defend the price of their crops". Carmel Mòdol, Secretary for Food in the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, said he was sure that the conditions of this season should allow the correct prices to be paid for pears and that the yield for the farmer should be adequate. "Every time we have a more organised market where quality production arrives and which, we hope, will move away from the crises of recent years". Finally, the need to keep a close eye on how meteorological phenomena evolve, in a context of climate change such as the current one, to evaluate the need to reconvert varieties that are more sensitive and less adaptable.


Good and sweet sizes

According to Afrucat's forecasts for Catalonia, the conference (which is the main pear in the region) has suffered the most from these adverse weather effects and will lose almost 45% of its crop with an estimated harvest of 33,693 tons compared to 61,108 ton last year. According to Joan Serentill, president of AFRUCAT apple and pears committee, "this is a year to reconquer and recover the domestic market. We are expecting pears with good sizes and good quality and the Spanish market is the one that most values these large, sweet pears. Our export profile will certainly suffer and, as the main destination, Italy will certainly be the one to feel this lack of shipments". Serentill also added that this drop in production is bad news in terms of stimulating the consumption of pears and fruit in general which has been in decline for years "pear consumers are getting older and our challenge is to reach these younger consumers and make pear a product on trend in their minds. We have to make young people fall in love with our pear".


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Portuguese Rocha pears
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