Bulgarian Pear Production increases with 42 %
In marketing year (MY) 2017/18, Bulgarian pear production increased by 42 percent. Table grape production also increased by 42 percent due to favorable weather conditions. Apple production was stagnant. Assuming normal weather, prospects for MY 2018/19 are favorable and Post expects pear, table grape, and apple production to increase, reports Fresh Plaza.
Consumer demand continues to exceed local production, but price sensitivities remain. Apple and table grape imports declined in MY 2017/18 due to higher international prices. Conversely, a 40-percent increase in fresh-pear consumption led pear imports to grow sharply. Post expects apple and table grape imports in MY 2018/19 to rebound. Pear consumption growth is forecast to be more moderate.
MY 2017/18 Estimates: Total apple production declined slightly, less than one percent, from MY 2016/17 (Table 1). Overall, apple quality improved over last season. The harvested area declined slightly by 3.4 percent, although this was mostly offset by higher yields, which improved by 3.7 percent. Weather in MY 2017/18 was relatively favorable. Bulgaria’s winter was mild, without heavy snowfall or very low temperatures, and spring weather during the blossoming and pollination periods was favorable. Soil moisture was mostly sufficient, although hot and dry conditions during summer months negatively affected yields.
Despite new European Union (EU) subsidies, new apple-orchard area comprised only 6.4 percent of all new orchard land under production. Organic apple production has developed rapidly, but still accounts for a small share of total production. In 2016, 2,309 MT of organic apples were produced, accounting for 5.2 percent of the Bulgarian apple market.
Although apples remain widely produced, processed, and consumed in Bulgaria, their dominance is declining due to the increasing presence of other fruit varieties. In MY 2017/18, apples accounted for 10.7 percent of Bulgaria’s total harvested orchard area and 20.4 percent of total fruit production. Apple area and production were the third-highest among Bulgarian fruits, following cherries and plums.
MY 2018/19 Forecast: Post expects that in MY 2018/19 production will increase. The 2017/18 winter was mild and there was sufficient rainfall. In March and April 2018, a sudden cold snap brought freezing temperatures and frost to some regions, but major production areas were not negatively affected. May and June saw abundant rainfall and summer weather was generally mild. The harvest started earlier than usual due to warm and dry fall weather.