News » 23.09.2022 - Italy expects smaller sizes of pears but with great quality
The Italian Interprofessional Pear Association OI Pera called tog ether the Coordination Committee on Wednesday, 14 September 2022, for a general analysis of the situation in the sector. Based on data from representative members of the organization in the Emilia Romagna region, the mid-July harvest estimates for summer varieties have now been updated.
In terms of yield, the previous estimates do not differ significantly from the situation in the fields, since in mid-July, when there was a lot of fruit hanging on the trees, the negative effects of high temperatures and drought were already factored in.
The updated data indicate small sizes, and the yield of Class I summer varieties is now estimated at less than 40% of the total harvest, compared to an average of 50% in a normal year.
Among Class I sizes, about 45% consist of calibers 60-65, compared to 28% last year and to about 20% in more successful years.
"This is a very worrying situation. This year we needed a windfall more than ever, but instead we have to start solving problems from scratch. Unfortunately, growing costs are not directly proportional to the size of the fruit, so it is necessary to optimize even the smallest sizes to ensure income," said Gianni Amidei (pictured), president of OI Pera.
In this regard, OI Pera also commissioned a research study conducted by the University of Bologna with the aim of having an overview of cultivation costs after the increase in raw material prices.
Today, the growing cost per hectare far exceeds the €20,000 threshold for Abate pears in the provinces of Ferrara and Modena. This is about €3,000 more than before the recent price increases, when, however, the cost was also high.
The increase in growing costs is almost exclusively due to the increase in raw material costs, with +80% in energy costs and +35% for plant protection products and fertilizers. These values are averages, but in some cases even a 90% increase is recorded.
"It is clear that the cost per unit of product depends on the average yield per hectare. If it is normal, the growing cost for Abate Fetel is about €0,90 cents per kilogram for all the product in total (class I + class II + not usable product). Unfortunately, the conclusion is very straightforward, that is why the high cost of cultivation per hectare, combined with low yields, a percentage of marketable product below average and many small sizes will make it very difficult to guarantee an income to growers."
"However, one must also mention that the quality of the pears in terms of taste and appearance is excellent despite the small sizes. In that respect, it is the best harvest in a long time. The weather conditions have therefore caused lower yields on the one hand, but also higher Brix values on the other," concluded Amidei.
"We have to convince retail and consumers that this season's pears are not only very healthy, but also very tasty, because fortunately the size does not affect the flavor quality at all."