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Italy Cements Deal on Pear Exports to China

July 06, 2023

“Via libera alle pere italiane in Cina,” meaning that Italian pears have finally been granted market access to China, was a popular headline in Italian mass media last month. The protocol was signed on June 26 at Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forests during a visit to Rome by China’s General Administration of Customs head Yu Jianhua.

Official negotiations on China market access for Italian pears began in 2017 but were halted in recent years owing to the pandemic. Local media previously predicted that if the agreement could be finalized in the first half of 2023, the initial batch of fruit would be able to reach China by the end of this year. According to Italian fresh produce marketing and research agency Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli, the export of Italian apples to China is next on the agenda.

Italy is the largest pear producer in the European Union and the second largest in the world, trailing only China. Pear production in Italy is concentrated in the country’s northern region of Emilia-Romagna, which accounts for over 70% of total output. In terms of varieties, the most popular cultivars include Abate Fetel, Carmen, Conference, Decana del Comizio, Kaiser, Max Red Bartlett, Santa Maria and Williams.

To fully seize the opportunities arising from the newly signed protocol, the Italian pear industry intends to relaunch production, which has been severely impacted in recent years by pests, outbreaks of brown spot disease, and extreme weather events such as late spring frosts and flooding. In 2022, the country harvested 474,000 metric tons of pears, which was more than double the quantity harvested in 2021 but roughly one-third less than the amount harvested four years prior in 2018. This year, the industry is anticipating another drop in output. Although the official harvest projection has yet to be confirmed, experts estimate a certain decrease due to poor fruit setting and excessive petal fall, as well as the unpredictable impact of flooding in Emilia-Romagna in May.

The decline in output has caused Italian pear exports to be sluggish over the past five years, falling 31% in 2022 compared with 2018. Last year, Italy exported 71,000 metric tons of pears worth 115 million euros ($125 million). The majority of exports are generally bound for the European Union, with Germany alone absorbing over half of total EU shipments, followed by France and the United Kingdom.

Image: Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forests

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.


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