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Greek stone fruit production up, Italian production steady

Due to favorable weather, Greek's stone fruit production for the 2014-2015 season is forecast to surpass production from the previous season. Italy's stone fruit production, which is the largest in the European Union, is forecast to remain on par with that from last season.

Peach and nectarine production in Greece is expected to increase this season over last season's production by 30 percent, noted a report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Last season's stone fruit production was 577,000 MT, and this season's production is forecast at 750,000 MT.

Most of the increase in production is due to a bump in fresh peach production, which is expected to rise by almost 38 percent this season to a total of 650,000 MT. Last season's fresh peach production was 472,000 MT. This season's nectarine haul is expected to remain fairly steady, with a slight drop of about five percent from last year's total of 105,000 MT.

Likewise, Italy's stone fruit harvest this year is expected to be on par with that from last year. Italian growers brought 1.48 MMT to market last season, and this season's haul, at 1.51 MMT, is expected to be slightly higher. Fresh peach production is expected to hit 606,542 MT this season, up slightly from last season's haul of 605,908 MT. Likewise, nectarine production this season is expected to increase from last season's haul of 798,572 MT to 821,128.

Although acreage dedicated to the cultivation of stone fruit in Italy has decreased by 20 percent from 2000 to 2010, production numbers have not fallen as precipitously. While the trend of decreasing acreage is expected to continue, the reason production is not expected to decrease as dramatically is because trees torn out are being replaced with new, better-yielding trees.

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