Weekly Product Updates

W39: Strawberry Update

Fresh Strawberry
Published Oct 6, 2023

In W39 in the strawberry landscape, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported significant changes in the United States (US) berry industry, with organic strawberry production in California tripling between 2008 and 2019, outpacing conventional strawberries. High-yielding strawberry varieties have increased national production while requiring less land. Fresh strawberry imports, mainly from Mexico, have grown significantly, with a record of 431 million pounds (lbs) imported in 2020.

Furthermore, winter storms in California, US, brought relief from drought but disrupted strawberry production. Drought coverage in the Western region decreased from 74% to 48% between Sep-22 and Mar-23, with extreme drought coverage falling from 19% to 2%. However, around 20% of strawberry fields in the Monterey Bay region were flooded. California is a major strawberry producer in the US, and this disruption will likely impact national supply. The impact on exports and distribution is also a concern, potentially benefiting producing nations like Mexico.

Peru's strawberry exports experienced a moderate increase in the first eight months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Between Jan-23 and Aug-23, Peru exported 17.60 million kilograms (kg) of strawberries with a free-on-board (FOB) value of USD 28.86 million, a rise from 11.78 million kg worth USD 22.62 million in 2022. The US was the primary destination for these shipments in 2023, accounting for 37% of total exports with USD 10.62 million in sales. Canada, Guatemala, South Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Panama also received shipments, contributing to the overall export value.

The Spanish Federation of Associations of Exporting Producers of Fruits and Vegetables (FEPEX) reported Spain's fresh fruit and vegetable exports decreased by 8% in terms of volume between Jan-23 and Jul-23 compared to the same period in 2022, amounting to 7 million tons. However, the export value increased by 8%, with USD 11.43 million (EUR 10.88 million). Fruit exports totaled 3.71 million tons, showing a 12% year-on-year (YoY) decrease, with the most exported fruit being oranges, followed by strawberries with 241.83 thousand tons. The decline in export volume was due to adverse weather conditions affecting production, while increasing value was driven by lower production and rising costs.

In Spain, Andalusian strawberry exports experienced a 14% decrease in volume during the 2022/23 fiscal year of the campaign, but the sales value increased by 5%. The value of Andalusian strawberry exports, centered in the province of Huelva, reached nearly USD 585.29 million (EUR 557 million) in the 2022/23 campaign, a 5% rise compared to the previous USD 598.95 million (EUR 570 million) in 2022. The Government of Andalusia reported a drop in export volume from 233.78 thousand tons in 2021/22 to 201.90 thousand tons in the 2022/23 campaign. The major export months were March and April, with Germany, France, the United Kingdom (UK), and Italy being the primary recipient countries. Around 6,714 hectares (ha) of strawberries were grown in Huelva during the last season, similar to the previous year, resulting in a harvest of 315.55 thousand tons, a slight increase from the 2021/22 figure. Adverse weather conditions in Feb-23 and May-23, combined with rising production costs in the agricultural sector, led to higher average prices throughout the campaign.

Lastly, in Poland, the availability of fresh remontant garden strawberries continues in small wholesale, and even strawberries in the open ground are still producing fruit. While the supply isn't extensive, it has increased compared to 2022 due to favorable weather conditions. As a result, local strawberry prices have decreased from the high levels seen earlier in the early 2023/24 season. Jul-23 experienced some of the highest prices for Polish strawberries in large-scale wholesale trade in the past five years, averaging USD 3.54/kg (PLN 15.50/kg). However, August had a slight price decline as favorable weather conditions led to a good harvest. The regular strawberry season in Poland typically ends around mid-August, with an average price in large wholesale markets of USD 3.31/kg (PLN 14.50/kg). During W39, Polish garden strawberries ranged from USD 2.28 to 2.97/kg (PLN 10 to 13/kg). The rise of late strawberry varieties grown in tunnels in Poland has also contributed to the extended season and availability.

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