Opinion

Global Apple Production Forecast Down in 2022/23 Due to Drop in Chinese Production

Published Jul 14, 2023
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Adverse weather conditions, including high temperatures during bloom, have adversely affected fruit setting in key apple-producing provinces such as Shaanxi and Shandong in China. As a result, China's apple production is forecasted to decline by nearly 5 million mt, driving the overall decrease in global apple production. Global apple production is forecast to decrease by 5.3% YoY for the 2022/23 season to 78.4 million mt. The expected decline in production in China and other major producing countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, and the US will reduce the global supply of apples. As a result, global apple exports are estimated to be significantly reduced by 16% YoY to 5 million mt.

According to a recent United States Department of Agriculture, global market report on fresh apples, grapes, and pears, global apple production in the 2022/23 season is expected to reach 78.4 million metric tons (mt), representing a decrease of 4.3 million mt. The decline in production is attributed to adverse weather conditions that have affected apple harvests in major producing countries worldwide. As a result, global apple exports are estimated to fall to just 5.5 million mt, a decrease of over 1 million mt.

China, a significant player in the apple industry, is forecasted to experience a decrease in apple production by almost 5 million mt. The decline is primarily due to high temperatures during bloom, which have negatively impacted fruit sets in the major producing provinces of Shaanxi and Shandong. Additionally, low market returns and the aging farmer population have influenced orchard management decisions, leading to tree removals in the northern and western provinces. Consequently, China's apple exports are expected to drop over 20% to 770 thousand mt, while imports are projected to increase by 13% to 85 thousand mt.

New Zealand, another significant apple producer, faced substantial damage to its apple orchards caused by Cyclone Gabrielle earlier this year. Although the South Island experienced favorable growing conditions, the production increase only partially offset the losses on the North Island, which accounts for over 65% of the country's apple production. Consequently, New Zealand's total apple production is expected to fall to just 453 thousand mt, a decrease of 60 thousand mt. This decline is expected to lead to the lowest levels of apple exports since the 2009/10 season.

South African growers, who enjoyed record apple harvests in the previous two years, are now in the recovery phase, leading to a decrease in apple production by 51 thousand mt to approximately 1.2 million mt. Despite steady production, increased cold storage costs and a lower supply of export-quality apples are anticipated to reduce exports. Hailstorms in the Western Cape, a major production region, have also increased the volume of low-quality fruit, with apples originally intended for export being diverted to processing and sold on the domestic market.

Chilean apple production is expected to shrink only slightly to 1 million mt, with good growing conditions and higher yields partially offsetting a continued decrease in planted area. However, exports are expected to decrease to 585 thousand mt.

Apple production in the United States (US) 2022/23 season is expected to fall to 4.3 million mt, the lowest level since 2012/13. Although growers in Michigan benefited from ideal weather conditions, record-breaking yields were unable to offset an overall decline across Washington state caused by adverse weather conditions. Exports from the US are anticipated to decline to around 590 thousand mt, marking a YoY decline of almost 20% and the lowest level in nearly two decades.

In the European Union (EU), apple production is forecasted to increase slightly to 12.8 million mt, mainly driven by higher output in Poland. Good flowering, pollination, and the replacement of old trees with higher-yielding varieties have contributed to this increase. However, rising cold storage costs will likely result in more apples being used in processing, leading to a decline in exports. Import demand is also expected to decrease by 41 thousand mt compared to the previous season.

Turkey's apple production is expected to reach 4.8 million mt, an increase of 277 thousand mt, owing to good growing conditions and the planting of higher-yielding varieties. Meanwhile, exports from Turkey are forecasted to reach 410 thousand. In India, apple production is expected to increase slightly to a total of 2.4 million mt due to abundant rainfall during the fruiting season. With reduced supplies from Iran and the European Union, India's imports are expected to fall by more than 60 thousand mt to 385 thousand mt.

These global apple production and export trends reflect the impact of adverse weather conditions on major producing countries. They also highlight the challenges the apple industry faces in meeting export demands, particularly due to reduced supplies and changing market dynamics.

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