On Tuesday 4 May, the first webinar of the medFEL, a must-attend event for all the Fruit & Vegetable sector’s professionals from every part of the market which up until now transpired in France’s Occitan region, took place. The event –the first of a three-part program which concluded on May 25– had to do with European apricot harvest estimates, based on the production of the 4 main growing countries (Spain, Italy, France, and Greece) and realized thanks to the partnership established with the local actors of the different countries.
The 2020 season
2020 has been a complicated year for many countries not only due to the pandemic, but mostly because of the weather conditions, such as lack of cold in winter, frost, rain, and hail, which have affected most growing areas. In Greece, it was a rather satisfying season for growers, despite the lack of production due to the cold and frost in the spring; with a harvest of 78,000 tons last year compared to 100,000-105,000 tons in a normal year.
The 2021 estimates
The European harvest is expected to be extremely low in 2021 in the cultivation areas of the 4 growing countries with 344,000 tons announced for 2021 compared to 420,000 tons in 2020 and 575,000 for 2015/19, i.e. a harvest 20% lower than in 2020 and 40% lower than in 2015/19.
In Greece, there is a lot of damage due to frost and, as a result, the harvest is expected to be 50% or approximately 55,000 tons lower than normal (that is the usual 110,000-120,000 tons). Greek apricots are mainly intended for the Western and Eastern European markets and while it is too early to say for sure, the forecasts for 2021 would be around 55,000 tons, a decrease of 29% compared to 2020 (78,000 tons) and of 25% compared to 2015/19 (70,000 tons on average).
At the same, diversification of the Greek crops with new varieties and especially late varieties, and a tendency towards more productive self-fertilizing varieties that behave better, was observed.