Opinion

Global Pear Production Set to be Reduced by 3% YoY in the 2022/23 Season

Published Jun 29, 2023
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Global pear production faces severe weather challenges and forecasted changes for the 2022/23 season. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) latest estimates, global pear production is forecast to be reduced by 3% in the 2022/23 season to 23.7 million metric tons (MMT). Weather-related damage has caused pear production in China to be reduced by 1 million mt, driving down global production. As a result, global pear exports are projected to be reduced to 1.7 million mt, primarily due to reduced shipments from China. Simultaneously, China's reduced supply will likely result in increased pear imports, with South Africa as the best-positioned pear supplier to fulfill the gap in the Chinese market.

The global pear production for the current 2022/23 season is expected to experience a decline of 740 thousand mt, reaching a total of 23.7 million mt, a 3% YoY decrease. This decrease is primarily due to weather-related damage in China, which offsets the European Union (EU) crop recovery. The severe frost in Hebei province, the leading pear-producing region in China, limited fruit setting and has caused a significant reduction of 1 million mt in China's production. Additionally, pear tree removal due to lower returns and a shift to grain crops encouraged by local governments have contributed to a decline in acreage for the second consecutive year in China.


Source: USDA

Exports of pears are anticipated to decrease to 1.7 million mt, primarily due to reduced shipments from China. The weather damage in China has impacted the country's pear supply, leading to a decrease in export volumes. Meanwhile, China's reduced supply has also resulted in increased pear imports, with an estimated rise of 12 thousand mt. The supplier that will most likely benefit from this situation would be South Africa, which has new market access to China and is emerging as a new supplier in the Chinese market, contributing to the growth in imports.

In the EU, pear production is projected to increase by 240 thousand mt, reaching 2.1 million mt. The EU growth is attributed to favorable growing conditions in the Netherlands and the recovery of orchards in Italy from the previous year's snow, frost, and cold temperatures. As a result, exports from the EU are estimated to rise by 11 thousand mt, reaching 360 thousand mt. Following the lifting of a temporary ban on EU apples and pears, shipment resumption to Belarus has contributed to the increase in export volumes. However, the recovering domestic supply within the EU is expected to reduce the demand for imports, leading to a decrease of 22 thousand mt.

In the United States, pear production is forecast to remain relatively stable at 583 thousand mt. While California has experienced favorable weather conditions, offsetting these are colder temperatures affecting sizing and volume in Washington and Oregon. The high prices and inflationary pressures are expected to result in a contraction of exports by 11 thousand mt to 100 thousand mt, particularly in Mexico, its primary market. Import volumes are anticipated to remain flat at 70 thousand mt as increased early-season shipments from China and South Korea compensate for reduced supplies from Chile.

Argentina's pear production is expected to increase by 33 thousand mt, reaching 590 thousand mt. However, high temperatures have impacted the sizing and maturation of the fruit, affecting volumes and fruit quality. Despite these challenges, exports are projected to rise by 30 thousand mt to 305 thousand mt, focusing on closer Latin American markets for lower-quality fruit.

Chile is likely to witness a decline in pear production, with a contraction of 11 thousand mt to 212 thousand mt. Growers in Chile have been struggling to diversify markets for lesser-known varieties such as Abate Fetel, leading to a decrease in the planted area by nearly 20% since the 2019/20 season. Consequently, exports are forecasted to decline by 6 thousand mt to 110 thousand mt, reflecting reduced supplies.

South Africa's pear production is expected to decrease by 36 thousand mt to 470 thousand mt due to hail storms and a return to normal yields after a record crop in the previous year. Despite the lower output, exports are projected to decrease by only 12 thousand mt to 275 thousand mt. This is partly mitigated by new market access to China and the approval of an in-transit cold treatment for shipments to India.

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