China’s commercial walnut production (in-shell basis) is forecast at 1.1 million metric tons in marketing year 2021/22 (September-August) and is unchanged from estimated MY 2020/21 walnut production. A spring frost may cut production in Xinjiang, the largest walnut producing province, by 20 percent from last year, but production gains in other major producing provinces, including Yunnan, the second largest walnut producer, are expected to offset the crop losses in Xinjiang.
China is the world’s largest walnut producer, with nearly half of global production. China’s total walnut production will continue to increase in the next few years as more walnut trees mature, but the degree to which these nuts enter commercial channels is dependent on price.
China’s total walnut production is unknown but is significantly higher than commercial production. Many walnut trees were planted on slopes, are of unpopular varieties, and are difficult to maintain or mechanically harvest. With low prices, walnut traders believe farmers will not be able to cover the labor cost to harvest these trees. In southern Xinjiang, however, walnuts are planted on plains and production is largely mechanized.
China’s shelled almond production is forecast at 42,000 million tons in MY 2021/22 (August-July), down nearly 7 percent from the previous year, due to frost damage during almond flowering in the spring, according to contacts in Xinjiang. Shache county in southern Xinjiang produces more than 95 percent of the country’s almonds.
The almond yield is low at 3.0-3.8 million tons per hectare due to a lack of proper crop management and agricultural inputs as well as the use of unproductive varieties. As a result, Xinjiang almonds are sold mainly within the region. China relies heavily on imported almonds for domestic consumption.
Almond acreage remains stable at around 63,000 hectares in Xinjiang. A private company in central Henan province has reportedly planted around 50 hectares of almonds for experimental purposes. It remains to be seen whether this trial production can be successful.