Mr. Ferenc Apáti, vice president of the Hungarian Fruit and Vegetable Product Board (FruitVeb), reported that the country's cherry yield could fall below 10,000 tons this year, compared to the average 12-15 thousand tons per year. Consequently, the consumer price could rise to a level up to 20-30 percent above average. The fact is that the yield of the early varieties is poor, and because of extreme weather and other factors, we need to count on further crop losses.
This weak production is the result of several factors, including issues with the flowering and the recording of unsuitable weather conditions.
The Hungarian cherry season starts with the Rita variety, the first significant early cherry, in mid-May, and continues with the Bigarreau and Burlat in late May.
The acreage devoted to cherries has expanded significantly over the past decade. The most important production areas are in Pest, Bács-Kiskun, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg and Heves County.
The vice president also said that over the last ten years, the annual yield has oscillated between 5 and 20,000 tons. The value of the industry also varies depending on the year and market conditions, and in an average year it amounts to between 3 and 4 billion HUF (between 9,316,050 and 12,421,535 Euro). Cherries account for 3-4 percent of the Hungarian fruit sector in terms of acreage, yield and production value.
80-90 percent of the crop is usually sold domestically, while the rest is exported to foreign markets - mostly to neighboring countries. The volume of imported cherries is not significant and that fruit is more expensive.