Australian pear, apple crops to suffer from drought

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: International trade, Import

Drought and late frosts are expected to see Australia's production
of apples and pears at itslowest in a decade, suggests a new
report.

Production of apples in 2007 is forecast at 205,000 metric tonnes, down 20 per cent from theprevious year level, according to recent figures from the US Foreign Agricultural Service.

As a result, apple exports for the year will be at the lowest level in over adecade (around 7,000 tonnes) with reduced availability of apples suitable for export.

Meanwhile Australian pear production for 2007 is forecast at 120,000 tonnes,down sharply - also about 20 per cent - from the previous year. Drought, frosts and some isolatedhails events have diminished anticipated pear yields, said the report.

Pear production is likely to be hit particularly hard by reductions inirrigation water availability, as a large percentage of Australia's pears are reliant onirrigation water.

Pear exports for 2007 are forecast at 5,600 tonnes, down sharply from the 7,000recorded for the previous year. Reduced availability of pears suitable for export will likely seeexports fall in CY 2007.

The decline is expected to see imported pears from China reach 4,800 tonnes in2007, a historical high. Year-to-date figures for January to October show imports have alreadyincreased by more than 20 per cent. Meanwhile pear exports for the year to date area down byaround 25 per cent.

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