According to the USDA, in 2023 China harvested 45 million tons of apples, which is 1% or 500 thousand tons more than a year earlier.
However, EastFruit experts note one nuance – the previous estimate for the 2022 production in China by the same source was much lower. In a report published on November 6, 2023, the estimate for the apple production in China in 2022 was raised by 8.5% or 3.5 million tons.
To put this into context, the world’s largest apple exporter typically exports about 1 million tons of these fruits, so increasing the production estimate by 3.5 million tons is a big deal.
If we compare the 2023 apple production in China with earlier estimates, which were close to 41 million tons, then we are talking about the production increase by 10% or 4 million tons. Yes, this is a lot, but is it enough to ease the unusually tight supply of apples globally in the 2023/24 season?
“Despite the fact that many market participants spoke about the threat of another decline in the apple harvest in China in 2023, most likely this did not happen. However, if we look at the last three seasons, we see signs of stagnation in apple production in this country, with a slight downward trend. This is due to a decrease in the area under apple orchards in China, as well as climate change, which constantly negatively impacts apple production,” says Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“Against the backdrop of stagnant apple production in China, Asia continues to show very high rates of population growth and high rates of economic growth, which increases demand for these fruits. In addition, in 2023, a sharp decline in the apple production occurred in India, which will be forced to significantly increase imports. And although India does not import fresh apples from China, it buys them from countries that compete with China in the markets of Asia and the Middle East. Accordingly, this provides powerful support to prices globally and regionally. The third and perhaps most important factor is the phenomenon of growing demand for industrial apples and apple juice concentrate, which directly affects China, where the bulk of the apples grown are processed. Accordingly, an increase in sales of apples for processing leads to a decrease in the supply of apples on the fresh market, and, also leads to an increase in prices for them,” explains Andriy Yarmak.
For more information: east-fruit.com