SOUTH AFRICA – The World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) has projected that South Africa will maintain its position as the largest producer of apples with 1,396,659 tons, a 4.6% increase from 2023.

This data was revealed during WAPA’s Annual General Meeting at Fruit Logistica in Berlin on February 9, 2024, where the association shared the Southern Hemisphere’s apple and pear crop forecast for the upcoming season.

The comprehensive report, compiled in collaboration with leading associations from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa, predicts a 1.1% increase in apple production compared to 2023, while pear crops are expected to decrease by 2.3%.

Jeff Correa from Pear Bureau Northwest in the USA was elected as the new President of WAPA during the meeting, succeeding Dominik Woźniak from the Society for the Promotion of Dwarf Fruit Orchards in Poland. Nick Dicey from Hortgro in South Africa will serve as the Vice-President.

The Southern Hemisphere 2024 crop forecast for apples anticipates a total production of 4,775,530 tons, reflecting a 1.1% growth compared to the previous year.

Other key contributors include Brazil (1,100,000 tons), Chile (912,000 tons), New Zealand (557,871 tons), Argentina (501,000 tons), and Australia (308,000 tons).

Gala remains the most popular apple variety, accounting for 1,578,148 tons, while exports are expected to increase by 8% to reach 1,551,696 tons. South Africa and Chile, the top exporters, are both expected to boost their export volumes, reaching 572,280 tons and 493,000 tons, respectively.

New Zealand’s exports are forecasted to grow by 22.2%, totaling 381,729 tons, whereas lower export quantities are anticipated for Argentina (70,000 tons, -4.1%) and Brazil (32,000 tons, -10.6%).

For pears, Southern Hemisphere growers anticipate a slight decline of 2.3%, with a total production of 1,465,800 tons. Argentina, Chile, and Australia are expected to decrease their production by 6%, 5.4%, and 2.7%, respectively.

In contrast, South Africa’s production is forecasted to increase by 3.4%, reaching 567,334 tons, along with New Zealand, which is expected to see an 8.4% increase, totaling 9,066 tons.

Packham’s Triumph remains the most produced pear variety, accounting for 508,000 tons, while export figures are projected to be in line with 2023, totaling 654,323 tons.

Jeff Correa, the newly elected President of WAPA, expressed his excitement about his role, stating, “I look forward to working with the WAPA staff and membership to advance the data sharing, market insights, and explore new avenues that will benefit the organization and its members.”

Additionally, European apple stocks as of January 1, 2024, stood at 3,851,098 tons, a 4.6% decrease from 2023. European pear stocks also experienced a 4.4% decline, totaling 582,587 tons. Meanwhile, the USA witnessed an increase in both apple (2,138,376 tons, +33.6%) and pear (169,474 tons, +14.9%) stocks.

The Annual General Meeting concluded by confirming that the next edition of Prognosfruit will take place in Budapest, Hungary, on August 7-9, 2024.

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