EUROPE – The World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) has forecasted a drastic reduction in apple and pear production in EU for the year 2023 owing to the effects of the region’s harsh climatic conditions.

The original EU apple estimates, which were released on 3 August 2023 during the Prognosfruit Conference, indicated a 3,3% decrease compared to last year, to a total of 11.4 million tons.

The EU pear crop for 2023 was estimated to decrease by 12,9% compared to last year´s crop with a total of 1.75 million tons.

In their recently issued press release climate warming has been cited as the main reason for a dramatic revision of the August 2023 European apple and pear forecasts.

Current data based on the first regional adjustments for the 2023 apple crop shows that its supply will settle at just below 11 million tons (about 4% lower than the original forecast).

Pears, on the other hand, will have a further decline in production in Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands leading to a lower crop of around 1.72 million tons, about 6% lower than the initial forecast.

“The early forecast is released during Prognosfruit, when harvesting is just about to start,” WAPA said in a statement. “The crop can therefore still be impacted by nature and climatic factors up to late October, with either a positive or negative impact on the quantity and quality of the harvest.”

In another report issued by the European Parliament, climate extremes are increasing across Europe with pronounced regional differences further described below.

Northern Europe and mountainous regions will likely see more heavy precipitation extremes, while Southern Europe will face severe drought and temperature extremes; Central Europe will endure both heat extremes and increased heavy precipitation.

The report further outlines that productions vulnerable to climate extremes such as fruits will suffer heavy yield damage caused by drought, frosts, or floods.

It is recommended in the report that adaptation strategies at farm level can help to increase resilience, protect assets, or stabilize income.

“Multiple solutions (e.g., investments, farming practices, etc.) can be combined for greater efficiency in a systemic approach with improved resilience of the farming system to climate extremes,” outlines the report.

Further noting that the current Institutional adaptation solutions supported by public or private entities include the setting up of climate change observatories and early warning systems.

Another existing solution captured in the report is the promotion of risk management tools to reduce farmers’ economic losses after climatic disasters and support the necessary investments to recover.

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