AgrarMarkt Austria: Market Report Fruits and Vegetables, April 2019

"Onion prices rose again in April, prices continue to go up"

Apple prices largely unchanged in April
Marketers were able to take the momentum of March, because the demand for domestic products was also a given in April. The main impetus came from export markets.

In the domestic market, demand continued to settle on a typical seasonal, quiet level. In the end, the prices were barely moving up or down. Wholesale prices were still below average. As a result of the market situation being completely contrary compared to the year before, marketers had to accept a price drop of their products of 37% in the corresponding period. A kilo of Austrian apples, without VAT., Class I from conventional cultivation in April costs €0.58 across all varieties.

Of course, there were differences specific to the variety. While Golden Delicious and Gala were nearly unchanged in April, averaging €0.53 / kg and €0.59 / kg respectively, Jonagold recorded a price increase of 6.2%.

As of April 1, the nationwide inventory was 83,118 tons. Supported by exports, the decline in dessert apples accelerated rapidly in March. Gala, Pinova and Elstar in particular saw a large demand. Golden Delicious also declined steadily -by 16.9%- compared to the previous month. The recently weaker varieties like Jonagold, Idared and Evelina recovered slightly and cracked the 10% mark and up. Conventional goods cleared around 21% in February and were satisfactory in the organic segment as well, at 16%.

The Austrian dessert apples stocks, both organic and conventional, were going stronger than in the previous month -with a nationwide reduction of around 20% in March- at 74%.

Positive signals were last heard from the export markets. The classic destinations such as Germany, Spain and Scandinavian countries were quite interested in premium goods from Austria.

Asparagus season 2019 started satisfactorily
Austria has an asparagus  acreage of 819 ha. This is an ascending trend. More than half of it, about 480 ha, is located in Marchfeld / Lower Austria. Due to the warm and favorable weather, the first asparagus of this year from cultures with a special early harvest (in tunnels etc.) could be harvested there at the beginning of April. Unlike last year, the weather played along and as a result of the cooler temperatures from mid-April, the asparagus continued to grow, so that growers could harvest on schedule.

The demand for Austrian asparagus far exceeds the current supply. Weather permitting, a "normal harvest" can be expected this year. With an average yield per hectare of 3 tons, a total of around 2,500 tonnes is expected nationwide. The white to green ratio is 3: 1.

Onion prices rose again in April, prices continue to go up
The Austrian and European onion market is still under tension. Buoyed by the high export prices (+ 240% price change as of January of the previous year), the lower Austrian producer price for onions, loosely sorted in boxes, went up again. Buyers paid up to €62.00 / dt at the end of April, said the Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture. The price level is now at an all-time high nationally as well as throughout Europe. But where does this enormous price rise come from?

The lack of, especially yellow onions, in the European market is in principle due to the European low crops in 2018. With the exception of Spain. Western Europe had suffered massively from last year's drought. The Netherlands in particular, the nation that, alongside Spain, is Europe's most important onion producer and EU's main exporter, last year had to deal with huge losses of 40% and more due to the drought.

As a result, the remaining amount of European onions is extremely low. Many member states such as Germany are already through marketing their local onions, or are about to run out. High-priced imports from overseas are now on the agenda.

There is no relaxation in sight, until continental goods will again be available on a larger scale,  

Carrot market goes on quietly in April
No special occurrences on the carrot market. Sales of the remaining volumes was quiet, both at home and abroad. The producer price for carrots, packed in a 5kg sack, was still at an average of €47.50 / dt. and being at +58% compared to last year, this was at a high level. This is not expected to change much until the new harvest.

The latest foreign trade figures report 64% more exports and 70% more revenues for January 2019.

Austrian early carrots are expected for mid to late May. Italian products are already on the local vegetable shelves.

Imports determine events on the domestic potato market
The producer prices for Lower Austrian table potatoes in the middle of April had remained unchanged at €25.00 / dt in April. So far, small packable, wire-worm free premium goods with AMA quality label, were traded at €30,00 / dt. Imports, mainly from France and the Mediterranean, visibly widened their presence during the month, attracting the attention of end users, more so because their quality was quite good. The dry weather of the first weeks of April left no significant damage to the plants with regard to the next crop. The rains showed up in time. Due to the cooler temperatures, a particularly early start of the "Heurigen 2019" is currently not expected. By the end of May, the first domestic new potatoes could be available.

Source: AgrarMarkt Austria

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