Strawberries -- Annual Report

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in China

Last updated: 29 Jul 2011

China’s fresh strawberry production for MY 2011 is estimated at 1.26 million metric tons (MMT), a ten percent decrease from MY2010, due to extremely cold weather conditions in Northern China.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Voluntary Public - Date: 7/21/2011 GAIN Report Number: 11041 China - Peoples Republic of Post: Beijing Strawberries -- Annual Report Report Categories: Strawberries Approved By: Ralph Bean Prepared By: Ryan R. Scott, Zhang Lei, and Wang Tong Report Highlights: China?s fresh strawberry production for MY 2011 is estimated at 1.26 million metric tons (MMT), a ten percent decrease from MY2010, due to extremely cold weather conditions in Northern China. Trade sources stated that high domestic prices are narrowing the price gap between U.S. and Chinese domestic products; that said, U.S. frozen strawberries will become more competitive in multinational five star hotels and upscale ice cream shops in Beijing and Shanghai during the off-season when fresh products are not available. Production: China?s fresh strawberry production for MY 2011 is estimated at 1.26 million metric tons (MMT), a ten percent decrease from MY2010, due to extremely cold weather conditions in Northern China. According China?s weather agencies, the coldest weather in the last 23 years was in March of this year. Local processors in Shandong, a major producing province, stated that heavy frost in late March damaged the flowering season and yields for open-field production. Post estimates that open field production in Shandong declined 35 percent and greenhouse production remained stable. Reliable industry sources noted that lower production in Hebei, another major producing province, is due to lesser planted acreage; farmers switched to more profitable crops such as garlic, ginger, and mung beans when prices reached record highs in 2010. Other key producing provinces are Liaoning and Sichuan. Production for frozen strawberries in 2011 is estimated at 110,000 MT, a 20 percent decrease from 2010, due low open-field production. Shandong province is China?s largest frozen strawberry producer, accounting for over 40 percent of total frozen strawberry production. China?s major processing varieties are America 13, America 3, All Star, Sengana, and Totem. The harvest season for greenhouse strawberries starts in November (accounting for 30 percent of China?s total production), followed by plastic shed in February (at 40 percent), and open field in May (at 30 percent). Greenhouse and shed production are both used for fresh consumption; while open field production is only for processing. Acreage for greenhouse production is expected to expand in coming years, mainly due to the growing demand from 1st and 2nd tier cities. For instance, there are about 1,500 strawberry greenhouses located in Changping District (a Beijing suburb). A greenhouse that covers 330 square meters and produces 2- 2.5 metric tons could generate income of RMB 25,000-35,000 (US$3,850-$5,385). Prices: Short supplies from open-field production caused prices for strawberries (used for processing) to double to 5RMB per kg ($0.35/lbs), the highest price ever. Farm gate prices for greenhouse strawberries also doubled to 80RMB per kg ($5.6/lbs) compared to last year during the same period. Monthly labor cost increased over 20 percent to 2,000RMB in the first half of 2011. Export prices for frozen strawberries are expected to reach FOB $1350-1500/MT, a 20 percent increase from last year. Prices for packaged organic strawberries in upscale supermarkets in Beijing reached more than $20 per kg during the 2011 Chinese Spring Festival holiday season, which is a 25 percent increase from 2010. Consumption: Greenhouse strawberries are offered when very few fresh fruits are available in the market, especially in North China. In China, about 80 percent of total strawberry production is fresh consumption and the other 20 percent is delivered to processors. The general practice in China is to consume fresh strawberries within three to five days after purchasing. Domestic consumption of frozen strawberries is steadily increasing as strawberries are becoming more popular as a value-added ingredient in foods targeted to young consumers such as jam, jelly, juice, and confectionary and dairy products. Trade: Imports With lower production and higher prices, China?s frozen strawberry imports are forecast at 9,100 MT in 2011, a 10 percent increase from 2010. The majority of imported frozen strawberries are reprocessed into frozen dried strawberries, repackaged, and then re-exported. For frozen strawberries, the import duties remain at 30 percent and VAT at 13 percent. China does not allow fresh strawberry imports. The import duty and VAT are 14 and 13 percent, respectively. China allowed temporary access for fresh strawberries from the United States during the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. No imports were reported for the World Expo. Key foreign suppliers of frozen strawberries to China include Chile, Morocco, Argentina and Egypt. These four major suppliers accounted for more than 92 percent of China?s total imports, which rallied 192.17% in 2010 from the previous year. Despite this significant increase in imports, the United States only accounted for 2 percent in 2010. Qingdao is the largest port for imports of frozen strawberries, mainly because its one of China?s largest food processing cities. Trade sources stated that high domestic prices are narrowing the price gap between U.S. and Chinese domestic products; that said, U.S. frozen strawberries will become more competitive in multinational five star hotels and upscale ice cream shops in Beijing and Shanghai during the off- season when fresh products are not available. Exports China?s frozen strawberry (H.S. Code: 081110) exports are forecast at 90,000 MT in 2011, a 20 percent decrease from 2010 due to higher export prices caused by low open-field production. In 2010, China was the largest frozen strawberry exporter, followed by Poland. Chinese frozen strawberries have been price competitive among major exporters with an average export price that?s 24 percent lower than its closest competitor in 2010. This year, Chinese exporters cannot offer similar export prices as China?s domestic prices for supplies and labor are drastically higher than previous years, coupled with the appreciation of the Chinese Yuan. Netherlands, Germany, Japan and Russia are largest buyers of Chinese frozen strawberries, accounting for 53 percent of total exports. Exports of fresh strawberries (H.S. Code: 081010) are relatively small due to short shelf life and low packaging technology. In 2010, China only shipped 346 MT to Russia (270 MT) and Vietnam (76 MT). Marketing: The market for imported fruits has been booming over the past five years in China. Chinese consumers are eating more fresh fruits driven by rising incomes, particularly in urban Chinese cities. For instance, consumption of fresh fruit in Shanghai and Beijing reached more than 100kg per capita in 2010, compared to 83.3kg per capita in certain developed countries. Fresh strawberries are very popular with Chinese consumers given their sweet taste, red color, and early availability in the season. Influenced by food safety concerns and scandals, urban consumers are extremely cautious in selecting fresh strawberries for themselves and their families, so organic strawberries are their first choice. Children and adults below 30 years of age who live in urban cities are the primary consumers for organic products. Major retailers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou offer organic strawberries to meet China?s expanding demand. There are well-established production bases for fresh organic strawberries in the suburbs of Shanghai, Chengdu, Beijing, and Dandong in Northeast China where prices range from $15 to $25 per kg. Chinese packers reported that branding and new varieties have improved profitability and helped establish a more stable and higher-end consumer base. Local importers noted that large volume group purchases are popular during gift-giving seasons. China?s fresh strawberry production is located in areas near large urban cities. For instance, Liaoning Province supplies the cities of Shenyang and Dalian; Hebei Province to Beijing and Tianjin; and Zhejiang Province to Shanghai. China?s limited cold chain facilities and high transportation costs continue to hinder additional sales. Strawberries are transported in non air-conditioned trucks from production areas to packinghouses to retail outlets where supplies are often displayed on the floor without the benefit of cold or chilled storage. Production, Supply and Demand Data Statistics : Table 1: Fresh strawberry PS&D PSD Table Country China, Peoples Republic of Commodity Strawberries, fresh (HA)(MT) 2010 Revised 2011 Estimate 2012 Forecast USDA Post USDA Post USDA Post Official Estimate Official Estimate Officia Estimate [Old] [New] [Old] [New] l [Old] [New] Market Year Begin 01/2010 01/2011 01/2012 Area planted 92,000 95,000 105,000 100,000 0 105,000 Area harvested 92,000 95,000 105,000 100,000 0 105,000 Production 1,350,00 1,400,00 1,750,00 1,260,00 0 1,600,00 0 0 0 0 0 Imports 0 0 0 0 0 Total supply 1,350,00 1,400,00 1,750,00 1,260,00 0 1,600,00 0 0 0 0 0 Exports, fresh 200 350 250 600 0 500 Fresh Dome. 1,146,80 1,189,65 1,486,75 1,084,40 0 1,329,50 Consumption 0 0 0 0 0 For Processing 203,000 210,000 263,000 175,000 0 270,000 TOTAL distribution 1,350,00 1,400,00 1,750,00 1,260,00 0 1,600,00 0 0 0 0 0 Table 2: Frozen strawberry PS&D** PSD Table Country China, Peoples Republic of Commodity Strawberries, frozen (MT)(MT, Net Weight) 2010 Revised 2011 Estimate 2012 Forecast USDA Post USDA Post USDA Post Official Estimate Official Estimate Official Estimate [Old] [New] [Old] [New] [Old] [New] Market Year 06/2010 06/2011 06/2012 Begin Deliv. To 145,000 150,000 167,000 122,000 0 167,000 Processors Beginning Stocks 0 0 0 0 0 0 Production 130,000 135,000 150,000 110,000 0 150,000 Imports 10,500 6,791 11,000 7,500 0 8,000 TOTAL SUPPLY 140,500 141,791 161,000 117,500 0 158,000 Exports 105,000 120,857 111,500 95,000 0 130,000 Domestic 35,500 20,934 49,500 22,500 0 280,000 Consumption Ending Stocks 0 0 0 0 0 0 TOTAL 140,500 141,971 161,000 117,500 0 158,000 DISTRIBUTION **Supplies from open-field production in May are used for frozen strawberries production in June, so the market year for frozen strawberries is revised to June-May from Jan-Dec like fresh strawberries.
Posted: 28 July 2011, last updated 29 July 2011

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