Europe: Reduction of peach and nectarine production confirmed

The delegations of France, Italy and Spain that took part in the meeting of the peach and nectarine contact group, held in Rimini, Italy, last week, have agreed that this year's campaign is marked by a notable decrease in production, especially for the early varieties, caused by adverse weather conditions.

France, Italy and Spain have all been hit by frosts and other adverse weather conditions. In Spain, this drop has been more noticeable in the early varieties, which are now starting to be harvested, as reported by the representative of FEPEX in the Spanish-French-Italian contact group. This is resulting in better prices at origin.

According to the Spanish Association of Providers of Combined Agricultural Insurances (Agroseguro), the adverse weather conditions recorded in late April and early May, especially hail and frost, have caused damage to crops in virtually the entire Peninsula, with about 6,200 hectares of fruit trees reported to have been affected, especially in the Region of Murcia, with more than 2,500 hectares affected. Significant damages have also been recorded in other provinces, such as Huesca, Badajoz and Lleida.

The group also addressed issues that affect the entire agro-food sector, such as the recent proposal of the European Commission's directive on unfair commercial practices in the food chain. The group expressed its support for this initiative. Representatives of the three countries denounce that national rules regulating the food chain only apply within the borders of that Member State, which harms exporters, and they support the creation of a single legislation to unify the criteria across the EU.

In 2017, the Spanish export of peaches recorded a 12% growth in terms of volume, with 453,550 tonnes, while the value fell by 2.4% and totalled 376 million Euro. Meanwhile, nectarine exports stood at 468,445 tonnes (+13%) worth 418.4 million Euro (+3%), according to data from the General Directorate of Customs. Lastly, the export of apricots amounted to 88,996 tonnes (+12%) worth 108.8 million Euro (-5%).


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