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Increased fruit consumption contrasts with low yield of German fruit growers

Europe's fruit-growing industry can look back on an unfortunate year in 2017, as a result of unfavorable weather conditions. In the run-up to the Fruchtwelt Bodensee trade fair (23 to 25 February 2018), Eugen Setz, Managing Director of the Obst vom Bodensee Marketinggesellschaft, reports a significant decline in EU-wide apple production, by around 20 percent.

Speakers at the Fruchtwelt Bodensee press conference together with the Bodensee-Apfelkönigin Sabrina Heiß (far left) from left to right: Claudia Metzler, 1st chairman of the Klein- und Obstbrennerverbandes Südwürttember-Hohenzollern, Eugen Setz, Managing Director of Obst vom Bodensee Marketinggesellschaft and Petra Rathgeber, project manager of the Fruchtwelt Bodensee

With 85,000 tonnes of apples, the 2017 yield of the Lake Constance region is the lowest in over 20 years (down 70% against the year before). However, it does meet the demands of consumers who are willing to buy: "After years of stagnation and even declining consumption, market analysts have been reporting rising purchases of dessert apples since autumn 2017. Overall, fruit consumption increased by four percent," reports Eugen Setz. "This could be due to an increased awareness of healthy food, but also to the low harvests in home gardens, which is then compensated by purchasing our apples." The Fruchtwelt Bodensee 2018 is again successful, with 381 exhibitors from 13 nations.

"For years, we have seen a slight increase in exhibitors and visitor numbers, regardless of the economic situation of the industry, making the Fruchtwelt Bodensee an important and internationally important platform for fruit growers, farmers and distillers from all over Europe. They come here to find out what is happening and they find a comprehensive product range within these halls," says project manager Petra Rathgeber. "The new 'My Farm Shop' area and the 'Farm Holidays' business sector are attracting more attention, with the International Brenner Day and the 38th Lake Constance Fruit Farming Days offering exciting talks on topics that are currently very much of interest to the industry." For the fruit industry this year, the topics of climate, frost and precautionary measures are central, because in the past year, pome fruit in particular suffered from frost in large parts of central, northern and eastern Europe.

The resulting decline in fruit production affected the country with the highest production -Poland- with a 30 percent drop. Belgium also had a 30 percent drop, Germany 40 percent. "An important prognosis for orchards is that the flowering will start sooner, which will increase the risk of blooming frost," says Eugen Setz. Therefore, it is important for the fruit growers to take precautions - for example by insuring themselves against this or by using sprinkler installations. "According to a survey, 90 companies in the region are interested in such measures, which in our view would be the most sensible, because the fruit wholesale markets need our goods," says Eugen Setz. However, the legal obstacles are currently still high.

Conventional versus organic agriculture
The subject of organic production is also much discussed at the moment. According to the statistics, the organic market is growing globally in terms of production acreage and turnover. In Germany, sales in 2016 increased by around 10 percent to 9.5 billion euros. Minister of Agriculture Hauk aims for 30 percent organic farming for Baden-Württemberg in 2030,” says Eugen Setz. And Setz is convinced this is the right path: "Ostensibly, consumer purchasing potential and demand are always brought up. But in a broader context, the extreme political pressure from environmental organizations is the driving force." In his opinion, the agricultural turnaround is a sociopolitical venture: the effect could be lower yields and this would further depress Germany's degree of self-sufficiency with fruit, increasing its dependence on imports. In addition to this, the eco-balance of these imports is questionable. He therefore would like to see entrepreneurial freedom prevail, rather than ideology.

Prices and opening hours
The Fruchtwelt Bodensee is open from 23 to 25 February 2018; Friday and Saturday from 9am to 6pm, Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Full-day tickets costs 11 euros. For more information and an overview of the lecture program, visit:

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