Agreste

France: Apple stocks increasing and pear stocks cut in half

At the end of December 2021, the stocks of French apples were higher than a year before. Sales were slower on the domestic market and exports were falling to third countries, and even more strongly to the European Union. The pear stocks, on the other hand, were less than half of what they were one year before, a direct consequence of the drop in production.

Apple stocks higher than the previous year
In late December 2021, the apple stocks had increased by 14% over 1 year. Despite a slightly smaller 2021 harvest due to the frost, the slower depletion of the stocks this year and the export decline explain these higher stocks. Differences are observed depending on the region and the varieties. For example, the regions most affected by the frost (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) show a sharp decrease compared to the previous year while the stocks have increased everywhere else.

In September, the marketing of the apples on the domestic market was not in place yet due to the delays in production. October marked the expansion of the range of varieties. The offer was made of mostly small calibers, especially for the Gala variety. The demand also remained a bit low.

In November, the storage station outputs were similar to the previous year. In December, they decreased (-9% compared to 2020). Prices returned to their 2020 level, but were 10% above the five-year average.

From August to November, the volumes exported to the European Union were 38% lower than the previous year and 46% lower than the 2016-2020 average. The most significant declines are observed towards Belgium and the Netherlands. The volumes exported to third countries also decreased (-28% in a year).

Pear stocks drop by more than half in a year
At the end of December 2021, the stocks of French pears were in very strong decline compared to the previous year (-57%), and compared to the 2016-2020 average (-33%). This low level is the consequence of the production decline in 2021, linked to the frost episode in the spring of 2021. On November 1st, the production was estimated at half a harvest. 

In such a context, pear prices in October were much higher than last year (+51%). The shortage of summer pears and the active demand explain this price increase. The marketing campaign of the autumn pears started at the end of September, with some delay compared to the previous years. The operators had to import pears to complete their sales. In October, the imports increased, especially from Spain and Portugal.

The marketing campaign of the summer pear ended early, at the beginning of October, while it usually ends towards the end of the month. In November and December, the supply of autumn and winter pears became more scarce and struggled to meet the demand. Belgian pears then filled in the deficit.

During the first 5 months of the campaign (July to November 2021), the volumes of pears exported were 30% lower than last year and 40% lower than the five-year average. Exports dropped to Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, and also decreased towards the third countries.

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