The annual harvest of Portugal's successful pera-rocha pear kicks off today with producers estimating a 200,000-tonne harvest of the fruit, some of which will be exported to China next year.
This year's production "should be very similar to last year's figures," that is, "around 200,000 tonnes," the president of the pera-rocha producers (ANP), Domingos dos Santos, told Lusa.
Produced mainly between Mafra and Leiria, there could potentially be a drop in production in southernmost areas, where pear tree stenphiliosis (a fungus that causes brown spots on the fruit), due, on the one hand, because they are more humid areas and, on the other, because of the atypical summer weather.
Approximately 60% of production is exported with Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Morocco being the five main destinations.
Market concerns this year relate to the markets of Brazil, where the critical economic situation will reduce consumers’ ability to purchase the fruit, and to the UK market.
The ANP has "some apprehension about an uncontrolled Brexit," which could force it to "apply the World Trade Organization's customs tariff, in which case the fruit will become more expensive," and less accessible to consumers with "less purchasing power," the president said.
Alternatively, the association has already begun to seek new markets, including China, where pears could be marketed in 2020.
Already this year, a Chinese delegation has visited the ANP, which plans in November to "participate in a fair in Shanghai to promote pears" and, at the same time, "to try to shorten the processes relating to phytosanitary protocols" and start "making the commercial part operational".