France: High apple prices make or break the market

The French top fruit harvest has met with a 25% drop this year, compared to 2011. With 1.4 million ton the output of apples is in fact the lowest in 10 years. Bad weather conditions, including frost and hail, have taken their toll, especially on the Limoges region. Almost 90% of crops were lost here. The only region doing slightly better is Paca, profiting from a sturdy Golden variety.

The weather also caused delays. The season is likely to end early because of the reduced volumes. Prices, as a result, are high, higher than they have been in 20 years. This, in combination with sustained demand within the EU, might be good news to growers and exporters. As long as producers refrain from pricing themselves out of the market.

So the biggest challenge is striving for a stable price, high enough for producers to make a decent living, but still affordable for consumers in an increasingly tight market. If both exporters and retailers don’t go overboard on prices, this might just be one of the best top fruit seasons in a long time.

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