W34: Apple Update

In W34 in the apple landscape, Ukrainian apple producers have demonstrated resilience and a strong presence on the global market under favorable conditions. Despite the challenges posed by adding or removing Ukraine from the global apple turnover, its main trends remain unaffected. Ukraine exports tens of thousands of tons of Royal Gala variety annually, compared to Austria's 9 thousand tons and Poland's 3 to 5 thousand tons. This resilience displayed by Ukrainian producers and their ability to maintain positive apple production figures even during times of conflict underlines their growth and steadfast position in the global apple market.

Moreover, Ukraine has been exporting its apples to regions that include Central Asia, South-East Asia, and the Middle East. However, the ongoing war and its consequences have posed significant challenges to this trade. In the absence of access to these markets due to the conflict, Ukraine has found opportunities in Central Asia, which has replaced the Belarusian market. The South-East Asian market approached the 2023 apple season cautiously due to high volumes of Ukrainian apples supplied the previous year. Ukraine reduced apple exports to South-East Asia in 2023 to avoid overlapping harvest seasons. On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been a strong and consistent market for Ukrainian apples in the Middle East. The UAE's substantial market size and potential for positive trends in the upcoming season indicate promising opportunities for Ukraine's future apple exports.

Belgium's apple harvest is expected to be 203 thousand tons in 2023, a 14.9% year-over-year (YoY) decline. This is due to a reduction in the cultivation area and overall production. Notably, the Jonagold and Jonagored apple varieties have experienced a decline in plantings, contributing to the decrease in production.

The Central Statistical Office and the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) have released their predictions for Poland's apple harvest. The Central Statistical Office expects the crop to be around 3.9 million tons this 2022/23 season, while WAPA estimates nearly 4 million tons. However, the Polish Fruit Growers' Association has a more conservative view, projecting a harvest of approximately 3 million tons. This assessment indicates a decrease of over a million tons compared to the previous year, representing a decline of about 30% YoY and a 30% drop from the prior year's 4 million tons.

Lastly, the state government of India has introduced a new system of selling apples after consultations with stakeholders, following the demand of apple growers. Starting in 2024, a standardized carton of 24 kilograms (kg) will be introduced. The apple industry plays an important role in Himachal Pradesh's economy, contributing around USD 604.9 million (INR 50 billion). The Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee has issued notices to traders who purchase apples and pears in terms of box rates instead of per kilogram. The Indian minister has made it clear that apples will be sold and purchased as per weight (kg) and not as per boxes, warning that arthiyas (commission agents) violating the norms would face strict action, including the cancellation of their license.

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