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USDA Gain report

Stone Fruit report Germany 2018

Total German cherry production for CY2018 is estimated at 61,100 tons. If this estimate is realized, this will be 2.5 times the production of the preceding year when devastating frost in mid-April 2017 led to a record low production. It would also represent a 34 percent increase compared to the historical (2008-2017) ten year average. Sweet cherry production is estimated at 44,300 tons and tart cherries at 16,800 tons. Production 2017 amounted to 24,803 tons (16,534 tons sweet cherries and 8,267 tons tart cherries).

Germany is the third largest importer of cherries in the world after China and Russia. According to the German market reporting company Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH from 2014 to 2016, between 54 and 68 percent of the cherries consumed in Germany were imported.

In the past ten years, German imports varied between 45,000 and 70,000 tons of cherries annually. The majority originated from other EU member states; mainly Austria, Italy, and Spain for sweet cherries and Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic for tart cherries. The largest non-EU suppliers were Turkey for sweet cherries and Serbia for tart cherries. In 2017 and in contrast to previous expectations imports declined by 1 percent as Austria and Poland had also been hit by frosts and exported fewer cherries to Germany. For 2018, imports are expected to decline, but not as much as one might expect given the ample domestic production. This is partly because fresh cherry consumption increased due to the unusually warm summer and lower than usual apple stocks.

In addition, Turkey is reported to have had a large cherry production, of which they exported quite a bit to Germany.

Opportunities for US sweet cherries are best at either end of the German domestic production, i.e. end of May/beginning of June and August/September. Of the two periods, the latter is more promising as there is less competition from cheaper Turkish cherries.

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