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Updates on the 2020/21 Italian apple season by Assomela

Apples, a new productive peak for Gala and Cripps Pink

The traditional meeting of the Marketing Committee of Assomela took place on 9 December to discuss the production’s up-to-date data and to evaluate November’s market trend.

The production, including the final data of the later varieties, is a little over 2.1 million tons.

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Alto Adige lost some ground, with some areas affected by spring frosts and hailstorms, while Trentino regained the levels of previous years. There was also an increase in production in Veneto and Lombardy. Emilia-Romagna's production dropped, also due to adverse weather conditions, while Piedmont's production set a record, now the second most important after Trentino-Alto Adige.

Regarding the variety, Gala confirmed its production peak, with 338,618 tons, while the Golden decreased its production by 6% compared to the previous harvest. The production of Red Delicious increased, but is still below the average. Also Granny Smith has returned to normal production levels. Fuji also increased compared to last year, but remained below average. Cripps Pink and all the so-called new varieties also achieved high levels of production, exceeding 100,000 tons. 

All cultivars and all production areas showed a good size and a general good quality of the product. As estimated in November, the quantity of goods destined for the fresh market reached a little more than 1.8 million tons, lower than the average of the last seasons.

Organic production also increased slightly, reaching almost 190,000 tons.

November sales figures confirm a dynamic market, as already noted at the beginning of the month, with a particularly consistent destocking, particularly for the Gala variety. Golden also had good sales. Red Delicious and Granny Smith sales are advancing steadily, even if more slowly. Fuji and Braeburn also reported satisfactory sales. On the whole, cumulative sales since the beginning of the season are over 500,000 tons, 35% higher than last year. Stocks as of 1 December are consequently among the lowest recorded at 1,364,135 tons.

The domestic and European markets are quite receptive, as well as non-EU markets, which were initially off to a slower start. India, the Middle East and South American countries are registering good trends, especially given the lower availability of US products, although the euro-dollar exchange rate is not the most favorable.

With regard to India, the efforts of the Italian Institutions together with those of the EU and other countries, have postponed to the beginning of March the request for the GMO-free certification, which was supposed to be effective on 1 January 2021. While this result is welcomed, it should now be continued in the effort to find a final solution to the problem.

In Italy, consumer behaviors tend to be more cautious compared to those recorded during the first lockdown, when apples were among the preferred products in their purchasing choices. Even the demand for packaged apples is apparently back to normal.

The season has certainly got off to a smooth start with quotations that are currently considered good by the operators, but not for all varieties and references. However, the sales campaign has only just begun and should be analyzed with attention, given the international scenario and the unusual times.

The Marketing Committee has also evaluated the situation, the prospects and the critical factors of the Green Deal for the sector, especially in the phytosanitary field. The sector requires much more progression and attention when evaluating the approval of active ingredients that are fundamental for the guidelines and regulations for integrated production as well as new packaging solutions that are innovative and eco-friendly.

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