Canada's slow decline continues for apple, pears - The Packer

Canada's slow decline continues for apple, pears

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

Only a small fraction of Canada's grape production consists of fresh table grapes. Based on available data from Statistics Canada and information from provincial authorities Post estimates that Canada produces about 3-4 TMT of fresh table grapes annually. Domestic consumption is basically satisfied through imports of table grapes, with annual volumes around 180-190 TMT.

Post forecasts an increase of 1.8 percent in imports of table grapes for MY 2010/11, up to 190 TMT from 186.6 TMT in 2009/10. Sustained consumption coupled with a strong Canadian dollar is behind this trend. Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program comes to an end. Over the past three years, Canada’s major tree fruit producing provinces operated an orchard replant program. These programs assisted producers with the removal of older lower yielding, less popular varieties and their replacement with more efficient higher density plantings of newer varieties. Numbers reflecting the impact of such programs will become available in 2011.

APPLES 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. In terms of current year factors, this decline is primarily due to a spring frost in southern Ontario, which supplies about 40 percent of Canadian fresh apples, and an estimated lower than expected production level in British Columbia, which supplies about a quarter of the total production. Increased crop levels are expected in Quebec and Nova Scotia, which, combined, supply about 35 percent of apples in Canada.

Bearing areas have declined for the fifth consecutive year, with a drop of 6 percent from the MY 2009/10, and a total drop of nearly 30 percent since MY 2001/02. Changing agricultural practices, resulting in higher density plantings on smaller areas, along with smaller producers exiting the industry due to production costs outpacing market returns are the leading factors underlying this trend.

More affordable imports from the United States, Chile and other low cost countries, combined with high production costs and a strong Canadian dollar continued to force the apple industry to downsize. Many apple growers are responding to the evolving market situation by converting orchards over to new plantings of vinifera grapes and other fruits, as well as by turning land over for new housing development projects.

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