In 2019/2020, the total top fruit and grape harvest in Bulgaria fell by seven percent. The apple harvest was 13% lower than in 2018/2019. This reduced yield was caused by adverse weather conditions. The pear harvest, however, reached a record high. A larger area with higher yields was harvested. The grape harvest was stable compared to the previous harvest season.
High demand drove imports in the first half of 2019/2020. But, after March, the anti-COVID-19 measures led to lower demand and fewer imports. Fresh fruit consumption decreased. Not so, demand for processed products that are easy to preserve.
This led to record levels of apple and pear processing. The amount of fresh produce being eaten in Bulgaria is expected to increase again in 2020/2021. That's if the coronavirus pandemic ends in 2021.
Compared to the previous year, the Bulgarian pear harvest yields rose by 62% in 2019/2020. The harvested area grew by 22%. And the average yield increased by 32%.
Most of the harvested pears come from the southwest of the country. In 2019, that area was good for 32% of the total pear acreage and 47% of the yield. Organic pear cultivation accounted for about nine percent of the total production in 2018.
Things look even better for pear farmers in 2020/2021. In early November, a MinAg report indicates that the harvested area and yield have increased by 27 and 10%, respectively. That's resulted in a 40% higher yield. The estimated 2020/2021 pear tonnage is 5,500 tons.
Pear consumption has increased in Bulgaria too. Annually, Bulgarians now eat about 1kg of pears per capita. The demand for fresh pear juice has also more than tripled compared to 2018/2019. Pear imports also increased by 14% in 2019/2020.
These came especially from Greece and Turkey. That was due to good domestic demand. Imports are expected to remain stable in 2020/2021. It might climb moderately to meet growing local demand.