Report Highlights:

This report provides EU-28 production, supply, and demand forecasts for fresh apples, fresh pears, table grapes and concentrated apple juice.

After a poor fresh deciduous fruit crop in the previous marketing year, a rebound in production is expected for 2013/14. Commercial apple production is forecast at 10.2 million metric tons (MMT) (up 2.6 percent), commercial pear production at 2.3 MMT (up 18.6 percent) and table grape production at 2.0 MMT (up 13.1 percent).

Abbreviations and definitions used in this report

CAJ Concentrated Apple Juice

CMO Common Market Organization

EU European Union

EE Eastern European

GTA Global Trade Atlas

Ha Hectare; 1 ha = 2.471 Acres

MT Metric Ton = 1000 kg

MMT Million Metric Tons

MRLs Maximum Residue Limists

MS EU Member State(s)

MY Marketing year

Apples: July/June 

Pears: July/June 

CAJ: July/June 

Table Grapes: June/May 

NMS New EU Member States

Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia 

NR Non reconstituted juices

OP Operational Program

PO Producer Organization

PSD Production, supply and demand

RTD Ready-to-drink

SFS School Fruit Scheme

U.A.E United Arab Emirates

USD U.S. Dollar

WAPA World Apple and Pear Association

Trade data cited in this report was derived by using the following HS tariff codes:

Apples: 0808 10

Pears: Until 12/31/2011: 0808 20 (pears and quinces) as of 01/01/2012: 0808 30 (pears) and 0808 40 (quinces) – in order to be consistent with previous data

CAJ: 2009 79

Table grapes: 0806 10 10

Production

The EU-28 is a leading producer of fresh deciduous fruits. Marketing Year (MY) 2013/14 production of apples, pears table grapes is expected to rebound from the previous year. Commercial apple production is forecast at 10.2 MMT (up 2.6 percent), commercial pear production at 2.3 MMT (up 18.6 percent) and table grape production at 2.0 MMT (up 13.1 percent). Significantly higher apple production is expected to occur in France, Italy, Spain, Romania, the United Kingdom and Portugal and to some extent in The Netherlands, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. This increase is partially offset by lower production in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Belgium and Austria. Italy and Spain remain the major pear producing countries contributing to about half of total EU-28 production. Despite declining area, Italy’s pear production is expected to be 14 percent higher compared to MY 2012/13. Concentrated apple juice production in the European Union is declining due to competition from other fruit juices. Major table grape producers within the EU reported higher yields than in the MY 2012/13. Italy remains the biggest table grape producer within the EU and ranks number six in table grapes production worldwide.

Consumption and Trade

Apples are still the most popular fruit in the EU-28, followed by bananas, citrus, and pears. EU-28 fresh domestic apple consumption in MY 2013/14 is expected to rebound after the sharp decline in MY 2012/13 due to the small domestic supply in that year. However, in some member states, an overall decline in apple consumption is being reported. The most important apple varieties are Golden Delicious, Gala and Idared. Pear consumption is also forecast to see a rebound in the current MY. In northwestern Europe, the Conference pear is the most popular variety, while Abate Fetel, Blanquilla, Limonera and Rocha are popular pears in Southern Europe. Table grapes consumption has been rather stable in recent years. The majority of apples, pears, and table grape trade occurs within the European Union. Major off season apple suppliers to the EU are Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand. Pears are imported primarily from South Africa, Argentina, and Chile. Top destinations for EU-28 apples are Russia, Belarus, and Algeria and for EU-28 pears, Russia, Brazil, Belarus, and Norway. For MY 2013/14, the higher availability of apples is expected to result in somewhat lower imports. EU apple exports are expected to decrease as a result of the demand for the domestic market and lower exportable production in major exporting countries like Poland and Italy. EU Pear imports in MY 2013/14 from the Southern Hemisphere countries are expected to be up to meet the local and international demand.

Policy

New MRLs for Diphenylamine (DPA) were published in the Official Journal on August 13, 2013 by Commission Regulation 772/2013. The new MRLs are set at 0.1 mg/kg for both apples and pears and will apply as of March 2, 2014.

Tariff levels for 2014 are published in Commission Implementing Regulation 1001/2013.

Apples - Commercial Production

The EU-28 is one of the leading producers and consumers of apples in the world. Poland (23 percent of total production in MY 2013/14), Italy (21 percent), France (17 Percent), Germany (8 percent), and Spain (6 percent) are the top five producing member states and together account for 75 percent of the total EU commercial apple production.

Commercial apple production in MY 2013/14 is estimated at 10.2 MMT. This estimate is a 2.6 percent increase (260.8 MT) in production compared to the low output of MY 2012/13. Significantly higher production is expected to occur in France, Italy, Spain, Romania, the United Kingdom and Portugal and to some extent in The Netherlands, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. This increase is partially offset by lower production in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Belgium and Austria. In contrast to estimates by WAPA and official Polish statistics, which forecast an increase in production, Polish industry estimates predict a 9 percent decline. The industry forecast is regarded to be more realistic and is therefore included in the FAS estimate. The decline in the apple crop in some of the above mentioned countries results from adverse weather conditions during spring. In Hungary for example the prolonged winter brought major losses in the honey bee population which, in combination with a short flowering period, led to poor pollination. Germany and Belgium also report lower crops due to cold spring conditions which caused problems during the fruit setting period. Earlier estimates for Austria have been revised down significantly because of high temperatures and drought during July and August, resulting in smaller fruit size and early fruit fall.

WAPA reports a lower quality of apples for the table market than in the previous MY 2012/13. Smaller fruit size and scab is being reported in many countries. In the Czech Republic, hail caused significant damage.

Some 25 apple varieties are produced commercially in the EU in volumes exceeding 10,000 MT. Among these, Golden Delicious, Gala types, and Idared are the dominant varieties. However, production patterns vary. While Golden Delicious is the variety with the largest production in Italy, France, and Spain, Elstar is dominant in Germany and the Netherlands; Idared and Jonathan are the number one varieties in Poland and Hungary, respectively. However, new varieties, for example Pink Lady, Kanzi, Rubens, Tentation, have increased their share of production in recent years. In the Netherlands “new” varieties comprise 10 percent of total production.

Apples - Non-commercial Production

Non-commercial production in MY 2013/14 is estimated at 1.2 MMT, which is 16 percent lower than in MY 2012/13. This is largely a result of a decline in Germany (minus 33 percent compared to MY 2012/13), Hungary (minus 17 percent), Poland (minus 12 percent), and Austria (minus 15 percent) that is only partially compensated by substantial rebound in production in Romania (up 17 percent), Czech Republic (up 119 percent), Spain (up 11 percent) and Portugal (up 15 percent).

However, most EU member states do not report estimates for non-commercial production.

Non-commercial production tends to alternate between good and poor crop years.

Non-commercial production includes apples grown in home gardens and in untended trees in meadows or field edges. Typically, non-commercial production is used for fresh consumption, apple juice and spirits production, baking (cakes, tarts) or preserved foods (canned, dried, and cooked). The amount of apples diverted to the different segments varies depending on the price for processing apples. Higher processing apple prices generally result in a higher proportion of fruit entering juice production. In general, non-commercial production is gradually decreasing in the EU-28 as hobby farmers get older. Younger generations have simply not shown the same interest in small-scale production. Instead, commercial production of higher acid apple varieties for processing is expected to increase to meet demand from the juice concentrate industry.

Apples - Stocks

According to WAPA, EU stocks of apples amounted to a low 388,498 MT on June 1, 2013, compared to 578,225 MT at the same time in 2012. The low stock numbers are a result of the previous year’s poor crop. Reporting of stocks varies by member state. In some member states the stock number comprised apples stored at producer organizations (POs) and in other member states, stocks are at POs and wholesalers. More important than the actual number is the year-on-year-change of stocks, as end of MY stocks can have a detrimental effect on the prices for the new harvest. In this report, stocks are included in the “fresh domestic consumption” line in the PSD.

Apples – Consumption

Consumer preferences

Apples are the most popular fruit in all member states except for Spain, where oranges are number one. However, a closer look within the apple segment does show differences in consumer preferences between member states.

EU-28 fresh domestic apple consumption in MY 2013/14 is expected to rebound after the sharp decline in MY 2012/13 due to the small domestic supply in that year. However in some member states an overall declining trend in apple consumption is reported. In Hungary, annual consumption has decreased by 2 kg/capita over the past five years. This may be due to increased hypermarket grocery sales, where the availability of other fruits presents an attractive alternative. In the UK apples’ consumption is decreasing due to cash-conscious consumers who buy less but better quality fruit. Also Spain reports a declining apples’ consumption. In contrast to that apples consumption is on a stable to increasing trend in other member states like Bulgaria due to increasing health consciousness of consumers.

Processing

In MY 2013/14, processing use of apples is expected to decline compared to MY 2012/13 because of lower both commercial and non-commercial apple production in Poland, Germany and Hungary.
Processing uses for apples include, among others, apple juice, concentrated apple juice (CAJ), cider, wine/brandy, apple sauce, preserves, canning, apple chips, and peeled apples for bakeries. The share of apples used for processing varies significantly by member state, ranging from 2 percent in France to well over 60 percent in Hungary. The processing share also varies from year to year. The EU-28 average share of apples going into processing is forecast to amount to about 25 percent of total supply in MY 2013/14. Major member states with apple processing include Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, France, Austria, Spain, and the U.K. (in order of descending volume).

Apples – Trade

The majority of trade occurs among the EU-28 countries. Over the past five years, on average about 2.2 million MT of apples were traded between EU member states, while roughly 500,000 to 800,000 MT were imported from outside the EU-28. In recent years imports, contributed between 5 and 8 percent of the total EU apple supply.

EU-28 external trade

Imports

EU-28 apple imports from outside the bloc are forecast to decrease by roughly 10,000 MT in MY2013/14 or 1.8 percent, due to the somewhat increased domestic apple production. The increase of imports in MY 2012/13 is a result of lower domestic production.

Almost 90 percent of EU-28 apple imports originate from five top suppliers, all of which are located in the southern hemisphere and export mostly during the European off-season. The main importers of apples are the U.K. and the Netherlands, who together account for more than half of the EU-28 imports. However, much of the volume entering the Netherlands will not be consumed there but eventually be transshipped to other member states.

U.S. apple exports to the EU-28 occur year-round; however, most arrive between November and April. U.S. apples compete with domestically produced apples and with competitively priced imports from China.

EU imports of U.S. apples decreased by 10 percent in MY 2011/12 mainly due to the enforcement of EU food additive legislation. For example, morpholine, a carrier for glazing agents applied to fruit, is approved for use in third countries such as Chile, the United States and Canada, but not in the EU. The U.S. apple industry has taken steps to ensure that fruit destined for the EU does not have any trace of morpholine. In MY 2012/13 EU apple imports from the U.S. remained fairly stable.

Exports

For MY 2013/14 total EU-28 apple exports are expected to decrease as a result of the demand for the domestic market and lower exportable production in major exporting countries like Poland and Italy.
In MY 2012/13 exports increased. This was largely due to higher exports from Poland.

The top destinations for EU-28 apples are Russia, Belarus, and Algeria. The largest EU exporters are Poland (mostly to Russia and Ukraine), France (mainly to Algeria, Russia, U.A.E., and Saudi Arabia), and Italy (to Russia, Libya, Norway, and Saudi Arabia).

In some large foreign markets, EU and U.S. suppliers compete; including: Russia: with apples from Poland, Italy, Belgium, France, and Germany; U.A.E.: France, Italy Saudi Arabia: Italy, France

Apples - Prices

Because of the expected rebound and normal availability this year, prices are expected to be average.

Apples – Withdrawal from Market

The reform of the EU common market organization for fruits and vegetables (see policy section) also brought about a change in the intervention system (also called “withdrawal from market”). Previously, a producer organization was allowed to dispose up to 8.5 percent of its marketed volume of apples through intervention programs. However, unlike other commodities, these volumes were not allowed to re-enter the market at a later stage. Instead, they had to be permanently “withdrawn from the market”, for example by donation to charity or be destroyed.

Since 2008, “withdrawal from market” is no longer available as a separate measure but has to be included as an emergency measure in the producer organizations’ operational program (OP). This means, the system moved from being financed entirely by EU funds to a co-financing system where producer organizations have to bear 50 percent of the costs.

As a consequence, starting in MY 2008/09, member state authorities began administering “withdrawals from market” indirectly via approval of the OP. Thus, volume data is no longer available. Also, some member states (for example Germany) have opted to do away with intervention for fruits and vegetables altogether.

Pears – Production

Pears – Commercial Production

Commercial pear production in MY 2013/14 is estimated at almost 2.3 MMT, up by 19 percent compared to MY 2012/13 and similar to the average production of the past three years. The area harvested continues to range from 121,000 hectares to 125,000 hectares. Of the 5 largest pear producing countries within the EU, area harvested continues to go up in Belgium while Italy, Spain and the Netherlands show a downward trend.

Production continues to be led by the Conference variety, mainly grown in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Other popular varieties include Abate Fetel (grown in Italy), William Bon Chrétien/Bartlett (grown in Italy, France and Spain) and Rocha (grown in Portugal).

The EU-28 is after China the world’s largest producer of pears, followed by Argentina, the U.S., Turkey and South Africa. Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal are the top five producing member states (MS) and together account for over 80 percent of total EU-28 commercial pear production.

Italy is still the largest pear producer, responsible for roughly a third of total EU production, with production concentrated in the North East region. Planted area however has been declining over the last decade due to the low profitability. Abate Fetel is the dominant variety, followed by William Bon Crétien, Conference and Kaiser. Italy’s MY 2013/14 pear production is forecast at 741,000 MT, a 14 percent increase compared to MY 2012/2013 but similar to the production of the average of 2010-2011-2012 (three year average). An increased production is forecast for Kaiser (+16 percent) and Abate (+5 percent), both compared to the average of 2010-2011-2012. Due to the good flowering and fruit setting, fruit size and quality are forecast to be good.

Pear production in Spain is expected to be somewhat down (-5 percent) compared to the three year average. Total planted area has been decreasing as stone fruit orchards replace pear production. Three quarter of production takes place in Catalonia (52 percent), Aragon (13 percent) and La Rioja (12 percent). Conference continues to be the leading variety followed by Blanquilla, William Bon Crétien, Coscia-Ercollini and Guyot.

In the Netherlands, pear production is forecasted to be similar compared to the three year average. In MY2013/2014, the acreage of pears is expected to be stable at an estimated 8,150 hectares. The production, quality and size of the leading variety Conference (responsible for 83 percent of total production) is expected to be good.

Pear production in Belgium is expected to be down by 6 percent compared to the three year average. The acreage of pears however is expected to further increase by over 4 percent to an estimated 8,921 hectares. Production of the leading variety Conference (responsible for 90 percent of total production) is expected to decrease by 7 percent. The cold and wet spring (frost damage during blossom) left its mark on pear production. The quality and size of the Belgian pears however promises to be good.

Pear production in Portugal is expected to be up by 21 percent compared to the three year average. The area harvested has been constant over the past few years. Portugal is the only EU country that produces the Rocha variety.

Pears – Non-Commercial Production

Similar to the situation for apples, the non-commercial production of pears includes pears grown in residential gardens and meadows. The non-commercial production figures for pears are relatively large in Austria, Slovenia, Romania and the Czech Republic when compared to their respective total production figures. For MY 2013/14 non-commercial production is estimated at 138,000 MT and represents around 5 percent of total pear production.

Pears – Consumption

Pears are still popular throughout the EU although apples, oranges and bananas continue to lead fresh fruit consumption. Like other fruit and vegetables, pear consumption is under pressure. The average per capita consumption of pears is around 4.5 kg/year. The high per capita consumer markets (9 kg/year or more) are Austria, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Further north, France, the Benelux and Nordic countries have an average pear consumption of 5 kg/year. Central and Eastern European countries have a per capita consumption of 2 kg/year or less.

On MS level, the most popular pear varieties are those that are locally or regionally grown. The Conference pear variety dominates pear consumption in North West Europe, while Abate Fetel, Blanquilla, Limonera and Rocha are popular pears in Southern Europe. The number of varieties offered in supermarkets is usually between 2 to 4. Main buyers of pears are senior couples and young bachelors. The industry furthermore believes that taste, price, texture and appearance are the main reasons for buying pears.

Varieties that have a good keeping quality, e.g. Conference, are available year round. Varieties with a somewhat lower keeping quality like Doyenne du Comice, Abate Fetel and Limonera are available after harvesting and are complemented by imports of Williams Bon Crétien and Packham from the Southern Hemisphere countries.

Processing

In MY 2013/14 it is expected that the volume of pears that will be used for processing will be around 275 thousand MT mainly due to average pear production in EU’s top five producing member states.

Pears – Trade

The majority of the pear trade occurs within the EU-28. Over the past 5 years, roughly a quarter of total imported pears came from third countries, while a third of total exports went outside the EU-28.

EU-28 external trade

Imports

The main EU-28 importing countries continue to be the Netherlands and Italy, together responsible for over two-third of EU-28 pear imports. Much of the volume however entering the Netherlands will be shipped to other MS like Germany.

In MY 2012/13, over ninety percent of the EU-28 pear imports came from South Africa, Argentina and Chile. Trade with these Southern Hemisphere countries starts in February and runs until June and does not directly compete with EU produced pears. Most popular imported varieties include Williams Bon Crétien, Packham and Anjou.

Other trade partners include China (Ya variety) and Turkey (quinces). The Ya pear is consumed by the Asian population within the EU while quinces are destined for the industry. U.S. pear (mainly Anjou variety) exports to the EU-27 occur between November and February. Although they compete with domestically grown pears, consumer demand is strong for U.S. pears and especially in the German and Nordic market.

The market for U.S. pears in the EU is constrained by a lack of awareness by importers and retailers’ awareness, the EU’s position on DPA and Morpholine and the availability of U.S. pears at a any given point during the season. Higher prices for pears in Europe could present additional opportunities for U.S. pears for MY 2013/14.

Exports

The main EU-28 exporting countries remain Belgium and the Netherlands, which are together responsible for almost fifty percent of EU-28 pear exports. These two countries are also the EU’s largest producers and exporters of Conference pears. Other leading exporters include Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Italy.

Russia continues to be the most important market for European pears (mainly the Conference variety) and accounts for sixty percent of total EU-28 pear exports. In MY 2012/13, due to record low EU-28 pear production, exports to Russia dropped by over 30 percent, in line with decreases in total EU-28 pear exports. At the same time exports to Belarus, the third largest export market, increased. Exports to other countries that neighbor with Russia like Kazakhstan, Georgia and Moldova stabilized. Above developments indicate that Conference pears produced in the Netherlands and Belgium increasingly find alternative routes to the Russian consumer market.

Exports to Russia and neighboring countries start directly after harvesting and run until May. Starting in late February, EU pears face competition from Southern Hemisphere pears. Given the ample production of Conference pears in EU (especially in Poland), exports to Russia and Belarus in MY 2013/14 are expected to go up to an estimated 220 thousand MT.

Brazil’s pear imports overall largely depend on Argentina. Portugal (Rocha variety) and Spain (Blanquilla, Limonera, Williams Bon Crétien varieties) are the country’s second and third largest suppliers of pears and their combined market share is stable around 15 – 20 percent. Brazil imports from Argentina slow down as imports from Portugal and Spain start (between August and March). Since pear production in especially Portugal is expected to be good, EU-28 exports to Brazil in MY 2013/14 are expected to go up to an estimated 45,000 MT. Pear production in Argentina will greatly impact EU export opportunities as well.

The EU-28’s fourth largest export market is neighboring Norway. Norway’s pear suppliers are the Netherlands and Belgium (responsible for 85 percent of pear imports). Exports to Norway have been stable for the past 5 years, except in MY 2012/13 when exports dropped due to the low EU-28 production. Exports for MY2013/14 are expected to back to regular numbers, an estimated 20,000 MT.

Pears - Prices

Because of the expected higher availability resulting from a good average production this year, prices are expected to be average.

Pears – Withdrawal from market

The situation is the same as with apples.

Concentrated Apple (CAJ) Juice

CAJ – Production

The share of CAJ production of the EU’s apple processing continues to decline. WAPA forecasts indicate a 10 percent reduction in EU apple processing (3.2 MMT) while table apple consumption forecast to grow 13 percent (8 MMT) for MY 2013/14. Rising energy and raw material prices have put pressure on processing margins. On the demand side consumer, preferences are also turning towards new tastes. In the flavored juice mix category, relatively expensive CAJ is increasingly substituted by grape and pear juice concentrate. The seven CAJ producers in the European Union are Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Spain, France, and Romania. These countries account for nearly all of the EU production.

CAJ – Consumption

CAJ is mainly used by the drinks industry and is blended for juices, soft drinks and, to a smaller extent, cider.

Consumption of fruit/vegetable juices is decreasing in many Western European countries where the market saturated and competition of other soft drinks has grown in recent years. However, the decline is not uniform and a few new Member States are seeing relatively stable fruit juice purchases, perhaps due to their lower initial per capita consumption levels.

Main competitors to fruit based beverages in developed markets are ready-to-drink (RTD) teas, functional drinks, and energy drinks. There are regional differences though. According to Euromonitor, fruit and vegetable juice sales in Western Europe decreased 1.9 percent between 2007 and 2012 but sales in Eastern Europe dropped only 1.4 percent during the same period. A few EU countries have tried to discourage sweetened soft drink consumption. Examples include the “soda tax” in France, the “public health fee” in Hungary and a similar tax in Denmark.

As regards to taste, apple juice ranks third in terms of importance behind orange and flavor mixes in Europe. Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Denmark and some other countries form an “apple juice belt” where the share of apples juice out of total fruit juice consumption 20-30 percent above average, according to the analysis of the European Fruit Juice Association. Apple-flavored juice consumption is high in the Netherlands (26.9 percent) and the UK (25.3 percent). Italy and Spain are strong producers and net exporters of CAJ but apple juice took only 5.7 percent and 4.4 percent of pure fruit juice sales in 2012, according to Euromonitor.

In the premium segment (100 percent juice, nectar) CAJ utilization is reduced by the growth of “non-reconstituted” (NR) juices made from fresh fruit. Beyond the increasing health consciousness of consumers, growing costs of from-concentrate juice production has also helped to close the price gap between from–concentrate and NR liquid fruit juices. In a few health-conscious countries, such as Austria or Germany, the turnover of NR juices grew 63 percent and 9 percent between 2010 and 2012 while the fruit juice segment as a whole faced heavy losses of – 3.2 and – 6.8 percent during the same period of time.

The cider market in Europe is experience better growth rate the overall fruit juice market. Apple and pear based cider have emerged as minor competitors to beer in the UK, France, Ireland, the Scandinavian countries and Poland. According to the analysis from AIJN/European Fruit Juice Association, EU’s annual cider production of 1,292.8 million liters (2012) used more than 107,000 MT CAJ equivalent.

CAJ – Trade

Of the EU-27 countries Germany, Austria, the UK, Poland, the Netherlands, and France are the biggest consumers of CAJ. These countries belong to the major producers of apple juice concentrate as well. Poland, Hungary, Italy, and Spain form the group of big net suppliers of the EU with CAJ. Less than a third of the EU-27 CAJ utilization is from (extra EU) imports. CAJ trade of the EU is increasingly based on the turnover among member states and the importance of extra-Community trade is fading.

China remained one of the dominant CAJ sources of the EU in MY 2012/2013; however, Chinese import volume dropped to 41,500 MT from 52,462 MT in the previous marketing year. Chinese CAJ has not recently been price competitive in the EU. Alternative CAJ import sources for the EU have emerged in the last two years. Sales from Ukraine, Moldova and Chile have increased the most. Switzerland, Brazil and Serbia are also important CAJ sources.

CAJ exports from the EU-27 account for less than five percent of annual production. Export volumes are relatively stable. Major destinations are Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.

Table grapes – Production

The European Union is a world leader in table grape production, together with China and Iran. Italy, Spain, and Greece account for 93 percent of EU-28 table grape production. After a dramatic fall in the last decade, EU-28 table grape area, if not production, continues to decrease. Reduced profitability, due to increasing production costs and strong competition from other suppliers, are the main factors behind the drop.

MY 2013/14 (June/May) EU-28 table grape production is forecast to jump 13 percent to 2.0 MMT. Significant increases are forecast to be registered in Italy’s table grape production (+15 percent), followed by Spain (+19.6 percent) and Greece (+2.5 percent).

Italy ranks sixth in world’s table grape production and third among table grape exporters, behind Chile and the United States. Italian table grape production is concentrated in Southern Italy, mainly in Apulia and Sicily, which account for 70 and 25 percent of the domestic production, respectively. Italia, Victoria and Red Globe are the main varieties in Italy, covering about 66 percent of the table grape area. In the last few years, Italy has gradually moved to seedless grapes cultivation, due to an increasing demand from intra and extra EU markets. Sugraone and Crimson are the most popular seedless varieties followed by Thompson, Centennial, and Sublime.

Italy’s MY 2013/14 table grape production is forecast to increase significantly from the previous campaign, mainly due to favorable weather during flowering and fruit set. Early (Black Magic and Vittoria), medium and late (Italia, Palieri, Pizzutello Bianca, and Red Globe), and seedless varieties that have been grown using the overhead table grape vineyard system (“tendone” training system) are reported to be of excellent quality, color, and sugar content. Early varieties (Black Magic and Vittoria) are sold from May to the end of July. For medium and late varieties (Italia, Palieri, Pizzutello Bianca, and Red Globe) ― mainly from Sicily, Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, and Sardinia―the harvest occurs from August to December.

According to the latest data provided by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Spain’s MY 2013/14 table grape production is forecast to increase by 19.6 percent thanks to optimal weather conditions during the flowering and fruit set. Fruit size is forecast to be good. There are approximately 13,600 hectares currently cultivated with table grapes in Spain. The main producing areas include the Region of Murcia, the Comunidad Valenciana, and Andalusia. Murcia and Alicante account for 70 percent of the total production area. Over 50 table grape varieties are commercialized in Spain. Aledo, Ideal, Muscatel, Dominga, and Napoleon are the main ones. Seedless varieties represent 30 percent of total table grape production and are mainly produced in the Region of Murcia.

Greece is the third largest producer of table grapes in the EU-28, behind Italy and Spain. According to industry estimates, MY2013/14 table grape production is forecast to be satisfactory due to favorable weather conditions during flowering and fruit set. In Greece, there are approximately 17,960 hectares currently cultivated with table grapes. The main producing areas include the prefectures of Corinth in Peloponnese; Kavala in Macedonia; and Heraklion in the island of Crete. Sultana (Thompson Seedless) and Victoria are the major table grape varieties grown in Greece.

Table Grapes – Consumption

Despite recent economic difficulties, EU-28 fresh grape consumption has been stable in recent years and stands at about 2.4 MMT. Starting in June and throughout the end of the year, EU-28 table grape consumption is mostly met by domestic production. Imports from third countries―normally coming in the first half of the calendar year from the Southern hemisphere―represent 22.5 percent of total consumption.
Italy is the leading table grape consumer in the EU-28, followed by Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain. Despite the fact that Italian seeded grapes are still appreciated, experts claim that EU-28 consumers are increasingly demanding seedless varieties. Thus, many EU-28 table grapes farmers are replacing old seeded varieties with new seedless ones (i.e. . Sugraone, Crimson, Thompson, Centennial, Sublime, etc.)

Table Grapes – Trade

The EU-28 is a net importer of fresh table grapes. During MY2012/13, the EU-28 imported 550,213 MT of table grapes. South Africa (167,950 MT) and Chile (123,006 MT) confirmed to be the leading suppliers to the EU-28 market, followed by Egypt (53,193 MT), India (51,272 MT), Peru (40,464 MT), Brazil (38,548 MT), Turkey (23,007 MT), and Namibia (16,460 MT). The largest EU-28 importing countries remain the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Netherlands serves mainly as a trans-shipping point. MY13/14 EU-28 table grape imports are forecast to stay flat. During MY2012/13, the EU-28 exported 140,502 MT of table grapes, mainly to Russia (45,526 MT), Switzerland (27,557 MT), Ukraine (14,792 MT), and Norway (13,091 MT). MY13/14 EU-28 table grape exports ―mostly to Russia (31 percent) ― are forecast to keep an upward trend.

Germany, France, and Poland continue to be the main destinations for Italy’s table grapes. Spain, the Netherlands, Egypt, and Chile continue to be the main suppliers to the Italian table grape market.

Spain is a net exporter of table grapes and over 85 percent of its exports are destined to the EU-28 (United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, and France). Italy, Chile, and Peru are the main suppliers to the Spanish market.

Greek table grapes (both seedless and seeded) are mainly marketed within Europe from late July to the end of September. Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands represent the main destinations for Greek table grapes (especially Victoria and Sultana varieties).

Common Market Organization for Fruits and Vegetables

The EU Common Market Organization for Fruits and Vegetables was last changed in 2007. The aim was to bring the fruit and vegetable sector in line with other agricultural sectors covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Council Regulation 1234/2007 established a single common market organization (CMO) for all agricultural products and the policy changes for fruit and vegetables were incorporated into the single CMO by Council Regulation 361/2008. The old-style production-linked payments have been replaced by decoupled payments. The shift from production support to direct aid to producers was designed to improve the competitiveness, market orientation, and sustainability of the sector. As of 2012, all payments are decoupled from fruit and vegetable production.

Producer Organizations (POs) are key to the operation of the EU's CMO for fruit and vegetables. POs are legal entities established by producers to market commodities. EU subsidies are not paid to individual producers but are channeled through POs. In order to qualify for EU subsidies, POs must submit an operational program to the Commission that includes provisions for an operational fund partly financed by producers. The EU contributes to the POs operational fund directly. The calculation of the estimated amount of contribution to the operational fund is based on the operational program and the value of marketed production. All the implementing rules of Council Regulation 1234/2007 have been incorporated in Commission Implementing Regulation 543/2011.

The Commission Implementing Regulation 701/2012 amended the crisis adaptation measures in Commission Implementing Regulation 543/2011 since August 2012 and was introduced as part of the ongoing CAP reform. On the request of Spain, Italy, and France, the Commission decided to improve the functioning of the crisis management system in the fruit and vegetable sector in the run-up to the entry into force of the CAP reform expected in 2014. The regulation also aims to make rules more flexible on green harvesting and non-harvesting.

The Commission has agreed to add compensation payments for withdrawing certain products. The amounts of aid per kilo paid to POs for products withdrawn from the market have been increased for certain products. These amounts have been set at levels that guarantee withdrawals become an effective instrument in times of crisis, whilst avoiding these kinds of withdrawals being made in normal market situations. The amounts have been increased to a minimum 20 percent of EU average prices for winter tomatoes, grapes, apricots, pears, aubergines, and melons.

The amount of support if the product is distributed free has been increased to a level that is 30 percent above average EU prices, affecting the products mentioned above, as well as cauliflowers, apples, watermelons, clementines, and lemons.

The regulation also improves implementation of the entry price system in force for imports of fruit and vegetables from non-EU countries by enhancing traceability of imported consignments from third countries in order to guarantee the effective functioning of the system and prevent fraud.

EU Marketing Standards for Fruits and Vegetables

The Commission implementing Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 provides for a general marketing standard for all fresh fruits and vegetables, repealing Commission Regulation 1221/2008. Specific marketing standards are still in place for ten products, including apples and pears. The specific marketing standards are set out in Part B of Annex I to this Regulation. The specific marketing standards for apples can be found in Part 1 of that same section on page 95 and for pears in Part 6 on page 129.

Fresh fruit and vegetable imports into the EU are checked for compliance with EU-harmonized marketing standards. These standards apply at all marketing stages and include criteria such as quality, size, labeling, packaging, and presentation.

Certification of Fruit Shipments

Plant products need a phytosanitary certificate to be exported to the EU. Phytosanitary certificates issued by an APHIS inspector are required to accompany fruit, vegetable, and nut shipments. APHIS issues phytosanitary certificates in accordance with international regulations established by the International Plant Protection Convention of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This standard-setting body coordinates cooperation between nations to control plant and plant product pests and to prevent their spread.

Council Directive 2000/29/EC contains provisions concerning compulsory plant health checks. This includes documentary, identity, and physical plant health checks to verify compliance with EU import requirements.
Commission Regulation 1756/2004 provides for plant health checks to be carried out at reduced frequency when justified. The list of products recommended for plant health checks at reduced levels was updated August 30, 2013. The frequency of testing consignments of U.S. Malus apples will increase from 35 % to 50% starting January 1, 2014.

School Fruit Scheme

A key objective of the changes made to the Fruit and Vegetable regime was to reverse the declining consumption of fruit and vegetables. The European School Fruit Scheme (SFS) is one measure to combat child obesity. Commission Regulation 288/2009 lays down the rules for applying Council Regulation 1234/2007 as regards Community aid for supplying fruit and vegetables, processed fruit and vegetables and banana products to children in educational establishments. These SFSs include three elements: free distribution of fruit and vegetables in schools, a series of accompanying measures, such as information campaigns on healthy eating habits, and monitoring and evaluation. The SFS aims to provide fruit and vegetables to school children from the start of the school year.

The SFS makes €90 million of EU funds available to provide fruit and vegetables to school children to be matched by national and private funds. The 2013/2014 school year is the fifth year of the program and the Commission implementing decision of March 26, 2013, allocates the €90 million of EU funds to the 25 participating Member States (Sweden, Finland and UK have opted not to participate).

The main beneficiaries of the Scheme in 2013/2014 will be Italy, who is set to receive over € 20.5 million, followed by Poland (€ 13.6 million), Germany (€ 12 million), Romania (€ 4.9 million), France (€ 4.7 million), Hungary (€ 4.5 million), Spain (€ 4.4 million) and the Czech Republic (€ 4.2 million).

Maximum Residue Limits for apples and pears

Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for pesticides, including import tolerances, have been harmonized throughout the EU since September 2008. As a marketing tool, some retail chains in the EU adopt private standards that exceed EU regulations by requiring their suppliers to adhere to stricter company policies that limit the maximum residues to 30, 50, or 70 percent of the respective EU MRL. The new MRLs are set at 0.1 mg/kg for both apples and pears and will apply as of March 2, 2014. DPA is a pesticide used on apples and pears to prevent scalding. However, DPA is not included in Regulation 1107/2009 on plant protection products and is no longer authorized for use in the EU. Industry sources estimate a 21 million USD loss to U.S. apple and pear growers once the new MRLs apply and DPA can no longer be used.

EU-Russian MRLs harmonized

Fruit and vegetables are the largest EU agricultural export to Russia. The Russian Federation aligned some of its maximum levels for pesticide residues (MRLs) with the EU and international standards and reached a common understanding concerning pesticide residues for fruit and vegetables since June 2010, as some of the Russian MRLs were more restrictive than EU requirements. The development provides more favorable conditions for EU exporters of vegetables and fruit, such as apples and pears, grapes, citrus fruits and stone fruits (peaches, apricots, etc.).

Tariffs

Imports of fresh fruit and vegetables are subject to the Entry Price System (EPS) which has been in place in its current form since the Uruguay Round. It is a complex tariff system that provides a high level of protection to EU producers. In this system fruits and vegetables imported at or above an established entry price are charged an ad valorem duty only. Produce valued below the entry price are charged a tariff equivalent in addition to the ad valorem duty. The tariff equivalent is graduated for products valued between 92 and 100 percent of the entry price. The ad valorem duty and the full tariff equivalent are levied on imports valued at less than 92 percent of the entry price.

Whether or not the EU will maintain the EPS will be discussed in the context of the Doha Round trade talks. The U.S. tends to sell high quality products, which are usually relatively higher priced and typically do not face any additional duty. Replacing the EPS with fixed tariffs could result in higher ad valorem duties.

Tariff levels for 2014 are published in Commission Implementing Regulation 1001/2013