10 Août 2017
If we look back to the last market season we can say, except for golden, that offer and demand have been quite well balanced for most of the varieties until the month of april. The Algerian market was missing for our south east goldens and stocks were high at the time.
We thought that the devastating frost in april upon Europe like in some parts of France could help the end of the season because some organisations decided to slow down the sales to overlap on September and October.
But in fact, the end of the season has been more difficult than expected. Heat and summer fruits came earlier. Sales of apples went down. This is why stocks are a bit too high till now.
If we look at tomorrow, the 2017 french crop will be 8 per cent down this year compared with 2016, but 17 per cent less compared with 2015.
Some orchards have been very much damaged by frost in some areas. Northern and Eastern part of France mainly. But Alpes area also and a bit everywhere in some specific places.
It’s dramatic for those growers who are losing much of their crop. But altogether the situation in France is much better than the average this year.
Remember that in 2012 it was exactly the opposite. With 30 per cent, the loss of crop was bigger in France than the average. The power of climate is enormous for farming.
We have to add to the loss of quantity an estimation of approximately 10 more per cent than usual of apples going for processing. So even with a low crop, the total amount of fruits going for processing will decrease less in proportion.
We are about one week earlier than last year, so back to a normal precocity. Size is good and sugar is high. No hail.
The crop of Gala, club varieties or some specific varieties for national market are at the same level compare with last year or even above, due to new plantings.
The new season coming is an opportunity for these new varieties to enlarge their market share. We think that it will speed up the shift to these new varieties for the future.
But for the next season every variety will have of course a good market. Our neighbours witch are also our costumers, UK, Netherland, Belgium, Germany are missing quantity. So the market is expected to be good for French apples.
The main difficulty will be to keep enough apples for the second part of the season. If there is too much pressure for the sales at the beginning of the campaign, prices could be under the level they should have. This is the main issue we will be facing this year.
We should also think right now to the next year. We never know what will happen. But if a big crop follow this small crop, some markets would miss more than ever.
Northern Africa, Russia or uncertainty with brexit are the main issues for the market. Even Euro gaining value is an important element. We have to keep this in mind.
In 2017, we learnt once more that we farmers have to protect our trees against climate and diseases.
But the main basic thing is still to satisfy consumers. This is why we encourage growers and producer organisations in France to renew their orchards with varieties the market is expected. This atypic year do not allow us to forget that eating quality and consumer confidence with Eco-responsible Orchards are essential more than ever.
As we are divided in many areas of production in France, it is also fundamental to be different each from each other. Varieties, labels, trade mark, soils, everything witch can be done to obtain an added value is useful.
The small crop to market this year should not make us forget this for the bright future we want.
Je suis arboriculteur, viticulteur et maire de Reignac, Mais aussi Président du comité départemental UMP Charente, Président de l'Association Nationale Pommes Poires et Vice Président de WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association).