Canada's slow decline continues for apple, pears

11/09/2010 10:46:04 AM
Tom Karst

Canada's apple and pear producers are still struggling with improving profitability, and this 14-page USDA FAS report does a good job in spelling out the troubles. The good news for U.S. fruit marketers: exports of apples, pears and grapes expected up in the next year.

From the report:

Report Highlights: The declining trend in apple and pear production continues as the sectors struggle to improve profitability. Post forecasts a 2 percent decline in fresh apple production in Canada for marketing year (MY) 2010/11 down to 405 thousand metric tons (TMT) from 413.1 TMT during MY 2009/10. Post also forecasts a decline of 10.7 percent in fresh pear production, down to 7.5 TMT during MY 2010/11 from a level of 8.4 TMT in 2009/10. Canada imports over 95 percent of its fresh table grapes and will continue to do so in the years to come. Post forecasts increased imports of fresh apples by 0.5 percent to 185 TMT, of fresh pears by 0.7 percent to 72 TMT and of fresh grapes by 1.8 percent to 190 TMT.

Executive Summary: Post forecasts a further decline in fresh apple production in Canada for marketing year (MY) 2010/11, down 2 percent to 405 thousand metric tons (TMT) from 413.1 TMT during MY 2009/10. This decline is consistent with the long term declining trend in planted areas which, in turn, reflects a declining profitability of apple cultivation. Post forecasts a small increase of 0.5 percent in Canadian imports of fresh apples, up to 185 TMT during MY 2010/11 compared to 184.1 TMT in 2009/10.

A lower production in Canada, stable demand and a very strong Canadian dollar giving imports a competitive advantage over the local production are the main factors behind this trend. Post also forecasts a further decline of 10.7 percent in fresh pear production, down to 7.5 TMT during MY 2010/11 from a level of 8.4 TMT in 2009/10.

 This longer term declining trend was aggravated by the slow death of the pear processing industry in Canada. In 2008 CanGro closed the St. Davids pear cannery in Ontario, the last one of 32 fruit canning plants that existed in the province. Post forecasts a small increase of 0.7 percent in the volume of imported fresh pears for MY 2010/11, up to 72 TMT from 71.5 TMT in 2009/10. Similar factors to those prevailing for apples influence this trend (strong Canadian dollar and stable demand). In addition, specifically affecting pears is the disappearance of canning plants: ten years ago 13 percent of total imports of fresh pears were destined to processing. This has dropped to zero thus slowing down import growth.


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