The 2018 European apple and pear crop forecast estimates that most European countries are moving back to a full crop, after experiencing a severe setback last year due to April and early May frosts. On 9 August 2018, close to 300 representatives of the international apple and pear sector met at the Prognosfruit Conference in Warsaw, Poland. During the conference, the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) released the 2018 European apple and pear crop estimate. This year, the apple production in the EU is set at 12,6 million T due to favourable weather conditions. This represents a recovery of 36% compared to last year’s low crop but is only a 3% increase compared to the average crop of 2014 to 2016. The pear crop is predicted at 2,3 million T, increasing by 4% compared to 2017.
This year’s apple crop is going back to a complete crop due to favourable climatic conditions across Europe with mild winter, no late frost, and limited impact of hail so far. The crop forecast for apple stands at 12,6 million T, with a strong crop in Poland (almost 4,5 million T) and average crop in Italy and France. Warmer conditions during blossoming and fruit setting led to the crop being ready for picking ca two weeks earlier than average in the northern regions. The sunshine has given the fruit sweetness due to a high brix level, meeting consumers expectations. Stocks from last season are already cleared from the market and there is limited presence of Southern Hemisphere fruit, hence there will be no overhanging stocks on the market. This means the market will soon be supplied by fresh apples. There will also be a strong demand for apple from the processing industry. Additionally, the larger crop is part of a process of varietal diversification to meet new consumer expectations, leading to a market with multiple dynamics. Besides, beyond Europe this season might be influenced by other parameters, including the frost experience in China. This could influence the balance on the global market for both fresh and processed apples.
The total European pear crop in 2018 is estimated at 2.327.000 T, which is a 4% increase compared to last year, and a 3% increase compared to the average of the last three years.
The large crop of apple, and the pear crop, needs to be held against a complex market access situation, given the ongoing consequences of the Russian embargo as well as other market closures or restrictions in the Mediterranean basin. Efforts to diversify the market and boost consumption need to continue. The drought and heat wave in several parts of Europe so far had limited impact on the crop, the size, and the overall quality. However, a revision downwards of some of the figures presented at Prognosfruit is to be expected in the upcoming weeks. WAPA will continue to monitor the developments of the Northern Hemisphere crop and will issue updates whenever appropriate.