Hungary: Pear pressure

Hungarians are eating more and more pears – And the country is producing fewer and fewer. But why?

Pears on a pear tree.
©Thomas Kelley

This year we have reported on multiple issues that Hungarian horticulture faces today. We reported on the extensive weather damages that the frosty cold snaps caused throughout the spring. We reported on the hardships that melon and peach farmers faced. Now the producers of another fruit are sounding the alarm: Pear farming is also facing challenges in Hungary – and in the rest of Europe, too.

In an interview with the agro news portal Agrárszektor, Ferenc Apáti, the president of FruitVeb, the main Hungarian fruit and vegetable interbranch organization, explained that in the past decade, the volume of pear production in Hungary has decreased by 30%. In 2010, around 3.000 hectares of land was used in pear farming, but today, this figure has shrunk to around 2.200 ha.

There are multiple factors at play. First, Hungary’s pear orchards are aging rapidly. Second, pear trees are sensitive to production technologies, land and wind and have a high demand for water and humidity.

Although consumers’ demand for pears has been increasing for years, domestic growers are less and less able to supply the market. To make things worse, there is a systematic shortage of proper storage, so in any given year, it is hard to find domestic pears on the market by December.

Because of the rising demand but falling domestic supply, Hungary has been importing more and more pears. This year however, spring frosts caused massive damages in orchards in other European countries as well.

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Stay informed. See the bigger picture.

We at the Budapest-Belgrade LAN team publish newsflashes for you every Friday afternoon. These are quick, digestible, to-the-point briefings about all the latest developments in the Serbian and Hungarian agro sectors.

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©Valentin Salja

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In this week’s Hungary Newsflash, you can find out more about a new breakthrough in climate change research, the issues with rising crop cultivation input costs, the continuing struggles of the pig sector, and the coming investment surge in the agro business scene.