According to information from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) China is expected to produce 44.5 million tons of apples in the 2017/18 period, i.e. 1% more than in the previous period. Pear production is estimated to increase by almost 2% in 19 MMT. Meanwhile grapes are expected to increase by close to 4% in 11.2 MMT.
China is expected to produce 44.5 million metric tons (MMT) of apples in the 2017/18 period (July-June), i.e. 1% more than in the previous period. The prolonged heat and drought that hit northern China during spring and summer caused a 5 to 10 percent decrease in apple production in the eastern producing provinces, such as Shandong, Hebei, and Liaoning.
Apple production in the western producing provinces, including Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Gansu, is likely to continue to rise under relatively normal growth conditions and will offset crop losses in the east. According to the report, the drought has also generated smaller fruit sizes, especially in the eastern region.
According to estimates, China's apple planted area will be 2.32 million hectares in the 2017/18 period, slightly lower than in the previous season, mainly due to the replacement of old orchards in the province of Shandong. The cultivated area seems to have stabilized in China after many years of expansion. In 2016/17, the cultivated area began to decline for the first time in more than a decade after market prices weakened during 2015/16, according to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.
In terms of varieties, Fuji apples, harvested in early or mid-October, still dominate apple production in China, accounting for more than 70 percent of the total produced. Other varieties include Gala, Red Delicious, and Guoguang, among others.
China's pear production is expected to be 19 MMT in the 2017/18 period (July-June), almost 2 percent more than in the previous period. Even though the heat and drought have reduced the pear harvest in China's eastern provinces, total production is expected to increase due to abundant harvests in other regions. The quality of the fruit is generally quite good, despite the drought in some areas.
Overproduction has caused a decline in the producers income. According to estimates, the area devoted to pears will decrease to 1.11 million hectares in 2017/18. The main varieties planted in China are Asian pears. Most pears are harvested between the beginning of August and the beginning of October.
The USDA report projected that China would produce 11.2 MMT of table grapes in the 2017/18 period (June-May), i.e. almost 4% more than in the previous year under favorable growth conditions. The quality of the grape is generally better than last year thanks to a better management of the crops.