NORTHERN HEMISPHERE FRESH PEAR SITUATION
|Pear production in selected Northern Hemisphere countries in 1998/99 is forecast at 11.4 million metric tons, up 8 percent from 1997/98. Increased output in China and Italy will more than offset reduced harvests in some other leading producers, such as the United States. Northern Hemisphere pear exports in 1998/99 are forecast at 920,580 metric tons, practically unchanged from the previous seasons shipments. U.S. pear exports in 1998/99 are forecast at 155,000 tons, 6 percent below the record 1997/98 shipments. Reduced production in the states of Washington, California, and Oregon, which are the major U.S. pear exporters; improved production prospects in some EU countries; and the economic problems facing Asia will likely hamper U.S. pear exports in 1998/99.|
Northern Hemisphere pear supplies to increase in 1998/99
Increased pear production in the Northern Hemisphere in 1998/99 mainly reflects larger crops in China, the world's leading pear producing country, and Italy, the principal producer in the European Union (EU). Good weather conditions across China's deciduous fruit growing areas (Shandong, Shaanxi, Henan, and Liaoning provinces) is expected to boost Chinese pear production in 1998/99. Italy's 1998/99 pear crop is forecast to increase 67 percent from the 1997/98 weather-reduced crop. Italian pear production in 1997/98 was drastically reduced by severe frost damage in the spring of 1997. On the other hand, pear production in the United States in 1998/99 is forecast to decrease 12 percent from the 1997/98 output. Smaller pear crops are forecast in the states of Washington, California, and Oregon, due partly to cool, wet weather during bloom and pollination. Washington, California, and Oregon account for more than 95 percent of total U.S. pear production.
The 1997/98 U.S. pear crop ended as the second largest on record
U.S. pear production last season (1997/98) was 27 percent above 1996/97 season's output and close to the 1994/95 record of 949,052 tons. An excellent spring and early summer weather in the three major U.S. producing states (Washington, California, and Oregon) boosted U.S. production of good quality fruit in 1997/98. Bartlett varieties account for more than half of total U.S. pear production and are primarily used for canning, although some reach the fresh market, especially early in the season. California (with an average of 250,000 tons annually) accounts for half of the U.S. Bartlett pear production. Anjou pears are the second largest grown variety, accounting for 30 percent of total U.S. output. Anjou and other winter pear varieties are intended mostly for the fresh domestic and export markets. Pears are the sixth largest U.S. fruit industry. The 1997/98 production value of the U.S. pear crop is estimated at about $300 million or 3 percent of the U.S. total fruit production value.
Northern Hemisphere 1998/99 pear exports forecast to remain at 1997/98 levels
Northern Hemisphere pear exports in 1998/99 are forecast at 920,580 tons, practically unchanged from the previous season's shipments. Increased exportable supplies from China and Italy will likely be offset by lower shipments from the United States. Italy's pear exports are forecast to recover to about 170,000 tons in 1998/99. Italian pear shipments declined significantly last season as exportable supplies were hampered by a smaller crop. China's pear exports in 1998/99 are forecast to increase to 130,000 tons, the result of a larger crop. On the other hand, U.S. pear shipments in 1998/99 are forecast at 155,000 tons, down 6 percent from the record 165,000 tons shipped in 1997/98. Reduced production in the states of Washington, California, and Oregon, major U.S. pear exporters, improved production prospects in some EU countries, and the economic problems facing Asia will likely slow down U.S. pear exports in 1998/99. Italy, the United States, and China combined account for about half of Northern Hemisphere pear exports in 1998/99.
U.S. pear exports set a record in 1997/98
U.S. pear exports in marketing year 1997/98 (July-June ) reached a record 165,000 metric tons, valued at a record $90.4 million, up 38 percent in quantity, and 21 percent in value from last season. A much larger U.S. crop, ample supplies of good quality fruit, lower export prices, reduced EU production, and market promotion efforts under the Market Access Program assisted in expanding U.S. pear exports in 1997/98. The leading pear producing and exporting states of Washington and Oregon benefitted most from this increase in exports. Shipments to the largest U.S. markets, Canada (valued at $32.3 million) and Mexico (valued at $24.7 million), were up 2 percent and 65 percent, respectively. Increased sales were also reported in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
On the downside, sales to Brazil, the third largest U.S. market, decreased 3 percent to 17,506 tons, valued at $7.6 million (compared to $8 million in the 1996/97 season). U.S. pear exports to key Asian markets like Taiwan and Indonesia were below those of the same period in 1996/97, due to ongoing economic difficulties in the region. For example, U.S. pear exports to the largest Asian market, Taiwan, were off 15 percent in quantity and 34 percent in value in 1997/98.
The share of U.S. pear exports as a percentage of total production has increased dramatically in recent years; from 5 percent in 1988/89 to more than 15 percent in 1997/98. The completion of trade agreements, combined with a plateau in domestic demand and more promotion efforts, have boosted U.S. pear exports. Canada and Mexico together account for over half of U.S. pear shipments. Countries in the EU, Brazil, and Taiwan are also important markets. U.S. pear exports face stiff competition from the EU, Argentina, Chile, and South Africa. Nevertheless, continued supplies of good quality fruit, strong demand from leading customers, and market promotion efforts should continue to boost U.S. pear sales in foreign markets.
It is too early to make a reliable forecast for the Southern Hemisphere countries for the 1998/99 season (harvest in 1999). Forecasts will be available in the March 1999 issue of World Horticultural Trade & U.S. Export Opportunities.
(For further information on production and trade, contact Samuel Rosa at 202-720-6086. For information on marketing, contact Sonia Jimenez at 202-690-6057)