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2013 estimates on 15th June

European peach and nectarine estimate reduced

The estimates for European production of peaches and nectarines has been reduced by 7% since the last estimate announced at Europech in April.

Elisa Macchi, director of CSO presented the data regarding the production and sale of peaches and nectarines in Europe during the "Frutta d'estate. Progetti approfondimenti e prospettive" conference held in Bologna on 10th June

From 2000 to 2010, the growing area in Italy shrunk from 82,401 to 65,955 hectares, a 20% decrease. However, despite the fact that growing area in regions such as Emilia Romagna (-35%), Veneto (-33%) and Lazio -52%) have been reduced, Puglia and Sicily have 60% and 20% increases respectively.

The decrease in area at a national level of course meant less production, and the potential dropped from almost 1.8 to 1.6 million tons.

Regarding the trend elsewhere in Europe, France went from 450,000 to less than 300,000 tons, whereas Spain increased from 500,000 to almost 900,000 tons. Greece remained at around 300,000 tons.

The director of the CSO also talked about Catalonia as an example, as it concentrated more than 30% of the Spanish production. In this region, production went from 250,000 tons in the first years of the 00s to 400,000 tons of 2011. Other regions such as Rioja, Navarra and Aragon have also increased. In particular, peach volumes went from 60,000 to 130,000 tons, nectarines went from 60,000 to almost 180,000 tons and flat peaches to 60,000 in 2012.

Going back to Italy, Macchi talked about the sales trends for peaches, which from 2005 to 2012 have increased by 6%, and for nectarines, which from 2010 to 2012 have decreased by 3%.

Analysing exports, Elisa Macchi underlined how Spain, which went from 300,000 to 650,000 tons, exports almost 80% of its production.

Greece, which has been increasing recently, reached 160,000 tons in 2012, 50% of its production. Italy, however, dropped from 400,000 tons to 350,000, 24-25% of the peach and nectarine production.

In particular, Italian exports are constant in July and August (even in June), though they drop in September, after they had been rising in the first few years of the 00s.

Spain increases all volumes between June and October. Only May is stable or slightly decreasing, even though the month is still dominated by Spain. The exports of France and Greece are only marginal. French volumes are diminishing whereas the Greek ones seem more constant but are only representative in June/July. 

Elisa Macchi also compared production costs of Big Tops and the cost of placing the product in punnets in Italy (in blue, Emilia Romagna) and Spain (in red, Catalonia) which brought to light the fact that Italy is not competitive as regards variable, raw material and labour costs.

2013 expectations
What Elisa Macchi anticipated on June 10th has been confirmed by the latest estimates by the CSO on June 15th i.e. the 2013 production of peaches and nectarines in Italy, estimated at 1,520,000 tons has shrunk by 7% with respect to 2012.

This year's drop in production, mostly due to bad weather in Spring, regards both peaches and nectarines, both registering -7%.

The production is of around 784,000 tons in Southern Italy (-8% with respect to 2012) and almost 642,000 tons in the North (-5%). In this case, the loss is not as bad because Piedmontese production returned normal after one year of productive deficit. 

This year, the development and ripening of fruit were late with respect to last year and, while in the South it could be recuperated towards harvesting time, it was not possible in the North. The varied ripening calendars prevented production from overlapping and therefore there was a difference between early productions in the South and the late ones in the North. 

Updates from other countries
At a European level, a 7% drop with respect to 2012 is expected in 2013, an 8% drop with regards to the last five years.

In Greece, hailstorms affected volumes, which are hovering around 175,000 tons for peaches (-24% than 2012) and 57,000 tons for nectarines (-29%).

France produces around 258,000 tons (-8% than 2012).

Spanish production is also decreasing: the production of fresh peaches (excluding flat peaches) is expected to be around 293,000 tons, +12% than 2012 though only -4% with respect to 2011. Flat peaches increase, and are now around 130,000 tons thanks to the fact that younger orchards started producing. Nectarines register +7% with respect to 2012, though -7% with respect to 2011.

"There are two considerations to make from the domestic and European data. At a European level, we must consider that last year there were no surpluses both from a total volume and weekly income point of view.

"Last year, Spain had problems both in the early and late period because of hailstorms. The increase is due to a confrontation with the low production of 2012 and the levels expected this year are definitely lower than the potential this country has. The other aspect we must consider is the good timing of the productions, which should avoid surpluses which often penalize the market."

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