Stone Fruit Annual

An Expert's View about Pome Fruits (such as apples or pears) and Stone Fruits (such as peaches, cherries, etc.) in China

Posted on: 29 Jul 2012

China’s peach/nectarine production in marketing year (MY) 2012 is forecast at 12 million metric tons (MMT), up four percent from 2011.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 7/9/2012 GAIN Report Number: 12043 China - Peoples Republic of Stone Fruit Annual Annual Approved By: Melinda Meador Prepared By: Ryan Scott, Wu Bugang, Freddie Xu Report Highlights: China’s peach/nectarine production in marketing year (MY) 2012 is forecast at 12 million metric tons (MMT), up four percent from 2011. Acreage for peaches/nectarines remains stable at 7.3 million hectares. Although China imports small amounts of peaches/nectarines during off-season production there is currently no market access for U.S. peaches/nectarines. Cherry production is expected to reach 170,000 MT, down nearly 20 percent because of heavy rains during the flowering period in Yantai, Shandong province, which is China’s largest cherry producing area. Cherry imports are estimated to increase by five percent to 25,000 MT, due to reduced domestic production and additional imports from the United States. U.S. cherries compete with local cherries between late May and late June. Production: Peaches/nectarines China’s peach/nectarine production for marketing year (MY) 2012 is forecast at 12 million metric tons (MMT), up four percent from 2011. Low temperatures during the spring will delay harvest. Reportedly, early-mature nectarines and peaches in southern China are not as sweet as those in the previous year due to excessive rain during the fruit development stage. China has more than 20 peach/nectarine varieties, most of which are local varieties. Production acreage is forecast at 7.3 million hectares in MY 2012, up a mere one percent from the previous year. Peaches/nectarines are planted in two major areas: 1) northern China, including Beijing, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Liaoning, northern Jiangsu and Anhui, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Gansu; 2) along the Yangtze River: Shanghai, southern Jiangsu and Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Sichuan basin. Currently, nectarines account for 20 percent of the total peach/nectarine production and this percentage is increasing annually. Compared with competing fruit crops like apples, peaches require less labor and investment and take less time to bear fruit. Nearly three percent of peaches/nectarines are produced in greenhouses. Field production for peaches/nectarines is harvested between May and October. Market returns for peaches and nectarines varies significantly throughout China. For instance, production areas in Beijing, Zhejiang and Jiangsu are close to big cities where farmers find high market returns. In mid-western producing provinces like Shanxi and Shaanxi, farmers supply lower-end markets. Sources noted that acreage close to developed areas is not increasing due to limited land. Farmers in less developed areas are not expanding because of low market returns. (See Prices) Cherries Although China does not provide official statistics on cherry production, MY 2012 production is forecast at 170,000 metric tons (MT) in MY 2012, down nearly 20 percent from 2011, as heavy rainfall in Shandong during flowering damaged production in China’s largest cherry producing province. Similar to peaches, the cherry harvest will be delayed due to low temperatures in the spring, with fruit quality expected to be better than normal. Acreage is forecast at 65,000 hectares in MY2012, up three percent from the previous year, due to favorable market returns. Among China’s cherry varieties, Red Lantern (similar to Brooks variety) accounts for about 40 percent and other main varieties include Bing, Sweetheart, Ukraine Series, Black Tartarian, Rainier, and Lapins. The current national average for production cost is estimated at $4,725 per hectare. In Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, where there’s limited land and higher labor costs, production costs can be 50 percent higher than China’s national average. Recent rapid expansion in cherry acreage seems to be slowing. Newly planted cherries in parts of Shaanxi province have not been successful because of soil and weather conditions. Furthermore, in more suitable areas like Shandong province, private companies have started to contract collective land (owned by counties or villages). This type of operation is relatively small as land has already been allocated to farmers, and it’s very difficult to contract land from profitable cherry farmers. Prices In Henan province, early-maturing peaches/nectarines are currently priced at 3.0 yuan ($0.48) per kilo, which is 25 percent higher than 2011. Reduced production in Yantai caused domestic cherry prices to skyrocket. For instance, this year’s farm gate price for Red Lantern (Brooks) doubled to 26 Yuan ($4.1) per kilo over the same period in 2011. Consumption Peaches are a popular fruit in China and production areas, which are often near urban areas, insure a ready supply. While most peaches and nectarines are consumed fresh, the processing sector is growing. Peach juice and nectar are the second largest juice beverages after orange juice and processed peaches are used in dried, preserved, and canned products. China remains the largest supplier of canned peach products to the United States. Although cherries are higher priced than other fruits, consumer demand is still increasing. Imported cherries are favorites of high-end consumers and popular as gifts during major holidays such as the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year). The sweeter taste and firmer skin of imported cherries are preferred by consumers over domestic cherries. However, sources relate that import consumption would drastically increase if imported cherries were more price competitive with domestic cherries. Trade Imports Cherry imports are forecast at 25,000 MT in MY2012, up five percent from the previous year. U.S. cherry exports to China are expected to increase by 30 percent due to additional supplies from Washington State in 2012. Chile is the dominant supplier during the Chinese Lunar New Year, peak season for cherry consumption, and accounts for nearly 80 percent of China’s total imports. U.S. cherries compete with local cherries between late May and late June. China imports small amounts of peaches/nectarines during off-season production for high-end markets. U.S. peaches/nectarines do not have market access to China. Exports China’s peach exports are forecast at 45,000 MT in MY 2012, an increase of 15 percent from 2011. This upward shift is attributed to additional domestic supplies and greater demand from Vietnam and Russia. China’s peach exports account for less than 0.5 percent of its total production; export of perishable fruits is hampered by storage and transportation challenges in China. Like peaches, the perishable nature of Chinese cherries also makes them difficult to ship. Exporters find it difficult to source large quantities of the same varieties. Small farmers often plant multiple varieties which produce inconsistent qualities. Policy In December 2008, China established a non-profit research and development system that provides technical support to the peach industry and input to policy leaders. The system is funded by the government and staffed by seed breeding, pest and disease, and cultivation researchers in experiment stations in 10 cities (Dalian, Changli, Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Qingdao, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Hangzhou, Wuhan, and Chengdu). Local governments in developed areas also support fruit production. In Yantai, the local government built irrigation reservoirs for cherry orchards and established specialized markets near major cherry production areas. Other authorities have subsidized farmers by building greenhouses for fruit production. Although China encourages farmers to form specialized cooperatives, the government provides limited funding, and without government support, cooperatives have few resources to market products or influence sales. Many farmer cooperatives, however, are providing market information and sharing farming techniques. A cherry farmer cooperative in Yantai offers weeding and fruit picking services to farms at low prices. Marketing Peaches In peach growing regions, local governments and organizations are also organizing marketing activities to help peach growers/brokers sell their peaches. Some local varieties of peaches are registered as “famous brands” in the name of the growing region. A peach blossom festival is held every year during the blossom season. These activities provide positive platforms for social networking as growers/brokers invite retail, institutional buyers, and wholesale clients to visit production areas and discuss orders. With massive media exposure during the festival, more consumers become familiar with regional peaches. Cherries The rapid growth of cherry exports to China continued in 2011, reaching a record 178 million dollars on 23,760 metric tons. This is a 100 percent increase over the same period in 2010, according to Global Trade Atlas. The United States is the second largest cherry exporter to China with 4,918 tons with continued growth expected over the next two to three years. China Import from World (Commodity: 080920, Cherries, Sweet Or Tart, Fresh) Pa ntity (Volume) rtner Country Uni Quat 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total T 189 611 3,344 6,184 11,222 23,760 Chile T 37 247 2,845 3,818 8,196 18,801 United States T 151 360 499 2,343 2,987 4,918 New Zealand T 1 5 1 22 40 41 Thailand T 1 0 0 1 0 0 Pa U.S. Dollars (Value) rtner Country 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total 645,977 2,059,586 22,119,504 37,227,503 88,662,071 178,123,030 Chile 78,319 706,038 19,776,316 24,909,262 65,591,400 134,825,262 United States 554,750 1,333,964 2,341,240 12,226,331 22,795,400 42,877,342 New Zealand 11,828 19,584 1,948 87,625 275,271 420,426 Thailand 1,080 0 0 4,285 0 0 Shanghai is the dominant port for direct cherry imports from the U.S., accounting for 42 percent of the total imports with Beijing and Guangzhou competing heavily for the remainder. Direct fresh cherry shipments to Beijing and Guangzhou from the United States have increased rapidly since 2008, except for 2010 in Guangzhou. Imports into Guangzhou in 2011 were up 160 percent from 2010. Importers stated that fresh cherries are air shipped from U.S. packinghouses to wholesale markets in Beijing in just two working days. The rapid transportation time guarantees superior quality of fresh cherries. The major upscale supermarkets as well as hypermarkets in Beijing offer fresh U.S. cherries during harvest season. Dis uantity trict Uni Qt 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total T 151 360 499 2,343 2,987 4,918 Shanghai T 28 179 206 1,022 1,386 2,089 Beijing T 0 8 52 350 996 1,352 Guangzhou T 123 173 241 942 501 1,305 Dalian T 0 0 0 29 48 96 Tianjin T 0 0 0 0 48 61 Shenzhen T 0 0 0 0 0 12 Xiamen T 0 0 0 0 9 3 Internet business for fresh fruits is growing in China, including stone fruits. Online stores sell high-end fresh cherries in packaged boxes (5kg or 10 kg) to consumers. Consumer education about U.S. cherry characteristics and health benefits remains critical to expanding distribution networks in China. Key importers have highlighted characteristics such as seasonal availability, cherry varieties, packaging, and proper storage and handling techniques. Trade buying missions to visit U.S. production areas and establish relationships between U.S. exporters and local traders also increases confidence in imports of U.S. cherries. Competition: Imported U.S. cherries, especially California cherries, face domestic competition in North China because of increased production in key growing areas such as Shandong and Liaoning where the growing season overlaps with imports of California cherries. However, the U.S. cherries are more price competitive this year as the whole price of domestic cherries has risen by almost 30-50 percent due to the reduced supply. Chinese growers continue to improve the quality and attributes of the cherries that are similar to U.S. varieties. For example, MeiZao is similar to Bing cherries and LeiNi is similar to Rainer. Although, by appearance, it is difficult to distinguish between China’s premium quality cherries and U.S. varieties, the taste of Chinese cherries is still inferior to U.S. cherries. Field visits to cherry production areas, such as Yantai, indicate that growers are expanding production of new varieties. China is still improving its post harvest practices and cold chain management, such as a national grading system and state-of-art packing line. During the harvest season, growers will sell their fruit to a broker at a collection center. The broker will then sort based on variety and size, and then pack into white plastic boxes. Large brokers organize cooperatives to create better packaging for exports to the East Asian market or sell domestically as a premium product. Consumer/Trade Education: The United States is viewed as the epitome of a high quality fruits supplier. Creating and enhancing the image of premium quality U.S. stone fruit in China is essential to boost U.S. exports to China over the long term. As competition from local products grows, in-store promotions, tastings, and display of point-of-purchase materials have been effective in increasing product awareness among Chinese consumers. Sales of U.S. cherries have doubled and sometimes tripled during these promotion periods. Training seminars targeting traders and retail managers on product handling and tips to increase profitability can help build trade confidence, helping to address an important link in the cold chain. In addition to on-site promotional activities, reaching targeted consumers through media exposure also plays an important role in raising consumer awareness of the premium quality of U.S. cherries. Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, is popular in engaging consumers and getting consumer feedbacks. The unique growing conditions in the United States, health benefits, and high U.S. food safety standards make U.S. stone fruits appealing to China’s affluent middle class. Packaging is another effective way to stimulate sales, especially during holiday seasons. Chinese consumers tend to buy visually attractive, well-packaged products as gifts for important contacts or relatives. The same is true with high quality seasonal products. When domestic cherries are available, local growers and wholesalers will prepare well designed retail-size packages mainly for two reasons: (1) to avoid excessive touching by consumers; and (2) to promote premium quality cherries for better branding. Local governments in major cherry growing regions, like Dalian and Yantai, are promoting cherries through local cherry festivals. The Yantai International Cherry Festival (from June 3- 25, 2012) attracted thousands of visitors to pick and eat the fruit in the orchard upon paying an entry fee. The organizer also invited media people from all over China to Fushan, a major cherry growing region in Yantai. The Festival not only served as a good channel to sell fruits, but also served as a good mass communication opportunity. Media reports helped to increase the awareness of locally grown cherries. Opportunities Emerging city markets (ECMs) such as Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Fuzhou, Dongguan, Qingdao, and Chengdu offer untapped opportunities for U.S. stone fruits. The growing population in ECMs has had limited exposure to imported food products, compared to high-end luxury imported products. Once distribution channels are identified and consumer education is increased in these ECMs, a new wave of demand will form for U.S. stone fruits. Modern fruit specialty shops equipped with produce coolers are emerging in some cities, especially in the Pearl Delta and Yangtze Delta, and becoming an important channel for imported fruits. Industry insiders even commented that sales of imported fruits in specialty shops could be larger than hypermarkets or supermarkets. E commerce has become a popular retail channel among consumers between the age of 25-45 in first-tier and second tier cities. TV shopping is attracting a wider demographic. The advantage of these channels is that the fruits are stored in fairly decent cold chain facilities and delivered to consumers in one or two days after receipt of the purchase order. Secondly, on-line shopping websites and TV shopping channels provide a good platform to educate consumers about the benefits of imported fruits and how the fruits are produced and harvested. Challenges Cherries U.S. cherries compete with local cherries between the end of May and the end of June. With Increased production area in Northern China, improved quality, local cherries are becoming more competitive to U.S. cherries. Chinese cherry growers, with the help of research institutes, are developing or introducing new varieties that have a longer shelf life. However, huge gap lies in post harvest practices. Chinese growers and packers are lacking of post-handling facilities and technologies. Cold chain in China remains a challenge for U.S. cherry exports as well. Although cold storage facilities exist at most fruit wholesale markets, retailer distribution, proper cold chain management cannot be guaranteed. Tables 2007-2010 China Peach Acreage and Production by Province Province 2007 2008 2009 2010 1000 ha MT 1000 ha MT 1000 ha MT 1000 ha MT Shandong 108.8 2,347,485 98.1 2,437,846 95.2 2,442,602 101.2 2,435,588 Hebei 94.6 1,370,654 93.9 1,430,416 89.0 1,444,854 85.8 1,462,150 Henan 76.0 774,759 69.5 850,939 70.3 938,641 73.9 1,017,447 Hubei 44.2 502,347 44.9 510,596 46.9 566,623 49.1 607,487 Shaanxi 27.2 391,111 28.1 441,236 31.4 485,471 31.2 593,502 Liaoning 24.5 439,844 27.4 461,049 26.7 506,750 25.1 537,209 Jiangsu 30.7 389,910 31.6 433,765 33.1 437,898 35.6 457,010 Anhui 15.8 289,864 24.2 326,213 23.1 380,300 24.1 430,134 Sichuan 40.9 358,781 43.4 392,854 43.8 410,342 45.1 416,361 Beijing 22.7 414,913 22.0 403,630 21.7 408,517 20.9 386,227 Zhejiang 25.5 316,166 25.9 346,219 26.3 365,679 26.2 355,911 Shanxi 12.1 178,106 12.0 210,210 13.5 260,852 16.1 321,002 Fujian 25.9 212,800 26.8 226,214 26.8 229,173 26.3 222,371 Yunnan 21.5 137,245 22.2 162,502 24.6 173,082 24.2 170,732 Guangxi 16.5 153,369 16.7 139,389 18.4 155,297 19.7 168,003 Gansu 13.8 142,204 13.6 152,605 12.9 161,822 12.7 155,895 Hunan 26.7 107,971 23.5 106,278 25.9 112,055 27.5 131,342 Xinjiang 10.6 86,137 11.7 61,447 12.8 96,306 14.6 104,713 Shanghai 7.3 108,921 7.5 90,290 6.7 95,098 6.6 101,418 Guizhou 16.8 80,805 17.9 79,920 19.5 84,796 19.8 85,549 Guangdong 7.6 89,537 6.4 79,119 6.6 78,011 6.8 80,899 Chongqing 10.8 64,665 10.6 70,636 10.8 78,000 10.4 80,660 Tianjin 4.0 48,776 3.9 53,254 3.9 61,544 4.1 60,025 Jiangxi 10.1 35,786 11.4 45,916 10.8 45,745 10.0 48,270 Ningxia 2.0 7,225 1.9 19,453 2.4 18,239 2.1 22,625 Jilin 0.2 666 0.2 678 0.4 720 0.2 1,773 Tibet 0.2 1,249 0.2 1,307 N/A 1,250 0.3 1,364 Qinghai N/A 479 N/A 370 N/A 533 N/A 352 National total 697.0 9,051,774 695.1 9,534,351 703.3 10,040,200 719.4 10,456,018 Source: China Agricultural Statistical Report Production, Supply and Demand Data Statistics: Fresh peaches/nectarines Fresh Peaches & Nectarines C 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 hina M Market Year Begin: Jan arket Year Begin: Jan 2010 Market Year Begin: Jan 2011 2012 USDA USDA O New Post fficial O N USDA ew Post fficial O New Post fficial Area Planted 714,000 714,000 720,000 7,200,000 7,300,000 Area Harvested 0 0 0 0 0 Bearing Trees 0 0 0 0 0 Non-Bearing Trees 0 0 0 0 0 Total Trees 0 0 0 0 0 Commercial Production 10,500,000 10,460,000 11,550,000 11,500,000 12,000,000 Non-Comm. Production 15,000 15,000 0 0 0 Production 10,515,000 10,475,000 11,550,000 11,500,000 12,000,000 Imports 0 0 0 0 0 Total Supply 10,515,000 10,475,000 11,550,000 11,500,000 12,000,000 Fresh Dom. Consumption 9,187,198 9,147,198 9,758,000 9,861,030 10,275,000 Exports 27,802 27,802 38,970 38,970 45,000 For Processing 1,300,000 1,300,000 1,750,000 1,600,000 1,680,000 Withdrawal From Market 0 0 0 0 0 Total Distribution 10,515,000 10,475,000 11,550,000 11,500,000 12,000,000 Fresh cherries Fresh Cherries,(Sweet&Sour) C 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 hina Market Year Begin: Jan Market Year Begin: Jan Market Year Begin: Jan 2010 2011 2012 USDA O N USDA ew Post New Post fficial O New P USDA ost fficial Official Area Planted 60,000 60,000 63,000 63,000 65,000 Area Harvested 0 0 0 0 0 Bearing Trees 0 0 0 0 0 Non-Bearing Trees 0 0 0 0 0 Total Trees 0 0 0 0 0 Commercial Production 190,000 190,000 210,000 210,000 170,000 Non-Comm. Production 0 0 0 0 0 Production 190,000 190,000 210,000 210,000 170,000 Imports 11,222 11,222 23,760 23,760 25,000 Total Supply 201,222 201,222 233,760 233,760 195,000 Fresh Dom. Consumption 199,865 199,865 223,759 223,759 193,000 Exports 7 7 1 1 0 For Processing 1,350 1,350 10,000 10,000 2,000 Withdrawal From Market 0 0 0 0 0 Total Distribution 201,222 201,222 233,760 233,760 195,000
Posted: 29 July 2012

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