Belgium experienced unusually high, dry temperatures this year. That caused sun damage to much of that country's apple and pear crops. "We've also been significantly affected," says Bel' Export's Tony Derwael. "Especially the apples suffered but Comice and Durondeau pears were also hard hit."
"The apples weren't only damaged by the sun. In the spring, they also endured frost damage. So, there are many misshaped apples on the trees. These haven't been removed because the trees produced relatively few fruits this year. When you add all this up, I'm a little pessimistic about the apples."
"In contrast, I'm optimistic about the pears. They've kept growing well and are of good quality. That's despite the heat. They are of normal size, and there are many of them. I've heard that the pears in the Netherlands are large. There are fewer of them too. Size is important at the start of the season. People want large pears. Later in the season, standard pears are more popular. Expect for the English market - they want mainly smaller sizes."
Sun-damage spots on the apples, caused by the heatwave in July, last year.
According to Derwael, the publication of the WAPA figures is an important occasion. "It's good to know what to expect for the season. The figures I saw were correct. The apple harvest is practically the same as last year. For pears, the difference lies with the Italian Abate Fetel harvest. The Italians have a normal harvest compared to last year's lower one."
"Yet, everyone I've spoken to is positive about the market. You could say we've had a good season. We achieved good prices in the second half of the season. I have, however, never seen growers have two consecutive good seasons. So, we're anxiously waiting to see how the coming season will go," concludes Tony.