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AgrarMarkt Austria: Market report fruit and vegetables, November 2019

Domestic apple harvest covers demand, wholesale prices solidify

In 2019, 184,265 tonnes of apples were produced in Austria on an area of 6,586 hectares. With a production of -4.5 % compared to the long-term average, this year's apple harvest is roughly on par with 2006 and 2012, respectively. At -2.3 % (-156 ha), the acreage is slightly down as well, with Styria being the only region affected. In particular, frost-damaged tree stands at lower altitudes were no longer replaced here.

Domestic apples dominate the sales market almost entirely with a broad range of varieties. Small remaining stocks of overseas imports are offered at dumping prices, but are not seeing much action. Nor are imports from the European domestic market, such as Italy, currently relevant to the market. The wholesale prices for KL I dessert apples, including sorting and packaging, recorded nationwide by the AMA, are solidifying more and more. Gala was traded at 0.67 EUR/kg, equivalent to the month before. Golden Delicious increased its October sales by 5 % and kilo price for Jonagold also increased for the third month in a row. Looking at all the varieties recorded, the price increase for November was 23% compared to the reference period of the previous year.

The stock of table apples (organic & conventional) reported to AMA amounted to 100,300 tonnes as of 1 November, 27 % below last year's level. As expected, some volume was added in October. This means that this year's harvest of dessert apples can be described as sufficient to cover demand. There will definitely not be too much table apples as in the last financial year, neither at national nor at European level this year.

Constant business on the carrot market
By the end of November, a large part of the indigenous carrots had been harvested. With a final nationwide harvest volume of 108,200 tonnes, the yield was significantly increased over the five-year average (+17%) and in comparison to 2018 (+15%), with almost the same production area. The wholesale price for class I conventional carrots, including packaging and sorting, averaged EUR 0.53/kg excl. VAT in November. Demand remained constant, according to the season.

Further increase in Austrian onion production
At around 3,500 ha, the trend towards expanding the area continued in 2019. In the last 3 years the area under cultivation increased by 500 ha or 17%. This was accompanied by an increase in production of 14% to 141,500 tonnes this year. With a degree of self-sufficiency of 120%, Austrian onions are traditionally exported. At present, however, business is still restrained in this respect.

On the domestic market, meanwhile, ample supply has met the slow demand typical of November. The wholesale price for class I conventional onions,  including packaging and sorting, is at an average of EUR 0.33/kg excluding VAT, remaining mostly unchanged from the previous month.

Better quality of stored potatoes
Domestic business was quiet in November. In addition to the fact that the tubers are generally smaller this year, the quality of the stock is significantly better than last year. Lower Austrian producer prices for firm cooking varieties remained at an acceptable level of 25.00 EUR/dt on average.

The latest NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers - UK, FR, DE, BE, NL) estimate from October assumes a 10% higher edible potato harvest compared to the previous year. At an estimated 26.9 million tonnes, production will be 1.8% above the 5-year average. This increase is due to an increase in the area under cultivation, particularly in France, which saw an increase of 14%. Exports of potatoes for human consumption are continuously taking place in Eastern Europe, where harvests are 5-10% below the 5-year average due to drought.

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