Newsletter 124 – 01.11.2021

In recent years, there has been a slight decrease in the volumes exported by the southern hemisphere. But the biggest change was in the importance of varieties and destinations. The old stars of the market are no longer so and the southern countries had to adapt to the new reality.

Countries: Argentina, South Africa and Chile are the southern countries that produce and export pears. They currently export about 650-700.000 tons per year. A decade ago it was about 730-780.000 tonnes, which shows that trade has slightly decreased. Argentina and Chile were the ones that reduced their exports by 10-20%. This drop was partially offset by the growth in South Africa (15-20%). Argentina contributes with 50% of the total exported by the southern countries, South Africa 30% and Chile 20%.

Varieties: It is where the biggest changes occurred. Traditionally, a third of the southern supply was Williams, another Packhams and the remaining third consisted of Bosc, D’Anjou, Beurre Hardy, reds and others. But the importance of varieties has radically changed over the last decade. The participation of the Packhams and Williams decreased. The latter was the one that dropped the most. From shipping 220-250.000 tons, currently it barely reaches 150.000 tons. This affected especially Argentina, which is the main world exporter of this pear. The reduction in Argentine exports is largely explained by the loss of the Williams market, which could not be compensated by the increase in other varieties.

Within the group "others" there were also changes. Currently the most important variety of this group is Forelle, participating in 10% of southern shipments. It is followed by Abate and D´Anjou with a contribution of 8-9%. Other varieties, although smaller, but showing strong growth are Vermont Beauty and Cocsia, appreciated in Asian countries. Among the varieties whose importance declined are the red ones, the Beurre Bosc and the Beurre Hardy.

Destinations: traditionally the main market for fruit exporters from the southern hemisphere was Europe. In the case of pears, the old continent received half of its shipments. Of those, more than half were from Williams. But the European market has stopped demanding it, especially supermarkets prefer to market other fruits, easier to handle, cheaper and available throughout the year. Only the Italian consumer still appreciates Williams. The southern varieties for which Europeans continue to show good interest are Abate, Forelle and other bicolored ones. Another growing opportunity is that of organic pears, of which Europeans demand more and more. But in general terms Europe today imports much less pears than it did a few years ago. Currently only a third of southern shipments go to Europe

Of the destinations that increased their purchase is Latin America. Within this region, shipments to Brazil decreased, but this was offset by increased interest from other countries, such as Peru, Ecuador, Colombia or Bolivia.

The other destinations, Russia, the US, Canada, the Middle and the Far East have not substantially changed their interest in pears. Volumes have been fairly stable for the last 10 years. Russia remains a good buyer of southern pears, receiving 15-20% of shipments; it is followed by North America (10-12%). Asian countries are not great buyers of southern pears. They import limited volumes of some varieties (Packhams, D´Anjou, Cocsia, Vermont Beauty). Nor is there a growing trend in sight, as is the case in many other fruits. Therefore, Asia is not the market of the future as it is for cherries, grapes, apples or citrus.

The conclusion reached is that the markets that appreciate and import pears from the southern hemisphere are few. The volumes they buy are stable, so no improvement in the possibilities for this fruit is expected.

Author: Ing.Agr. Betina Ernst