Unfavorable weather conditions with frost and heavy rainstorms during the blossoming and fruit set account for the overall drop in EU stone fruit production in MY 2021/22. According to industry estimates, EU production of peaches and nectarines may decline 16.6 percent compared to the previous year to 2.67 million MT, also affected by the continuous decline in area planted due to low profits. Similarly, EU cherry production is projected to decline 5.3 percent compared to last season to 664,800 MT.
The expected drop in EU stone fruit production may rebalance supply and demand and recover EU stone fruit prices. EU stone fruit exports continue to decline because of the shortage in supply and new markets have never fully compensated for the 2014 Russian embargo imposed on EU food products. Conversely, in MY 2021/22, EU imports of stone fruits may continue to increase in line with declining EU domestic supplies. In addition, to date Brexit is not negatively impacting the stone fruit trade with the EU.
In Marketing Year (MY) 2020/21 (January/December), the EU area planted for peaches and nectarines was around 202,000 hectares (ha), six percent smaller than previously estimated due to adjustments of area planted according to Eurostat data. Spain and Italy continued to decrease their area planted due to a surplus of peach production that has put downward pressure on market price and resulted in poor economic conditions for farmers. In Spain, there is a shift in production toward tree nuts, particularly almonds. According to FAS Post projections, in MY 2021/22, the EU planted area for peaches and nectarines is forecast to continue its decline.