Tree Nuts Annual 2012

An Expert's View about Tree and Bush Fruits and Nuts in Italy

Posted on: 10 Nov 2012

The Italian tree nuts sector has experienced significant restructuring over the last decade, which has reduced planted areas and production.

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: 9/14/2012 GAIN Report Number: IT1231 Italy Post: Rome Tree Nuts Annual 2012 Report Categories: Tree Nuts Approved By: Christine Sloop Prepared By: Ornella Bettini Report Highlights: The Italian tree nuts sector has experienced significant restructuring over the last decade, which has reduced planted areas and production, eroding Italy’s share of world production. Industry sources estimate MY 2012 Italian tree nut production at 2,500 MT for pistachios, 4,545 MT for almonds, 10,500 MT for walnuts, and 100,000 MT for hazelnuts. INTRODUCTION The Italian tree nuts sector has experienced significant restructuring over the last decade, which has reduced planted areas and production, eroding Italy’s share of world production. As a result, Italy is no longer self-sufficient in nut production, but has become a net tree nuts importer. I. PISTACHIOS Table 1: Production, Supply and Demand (MT) 2010 2011 2012 P Estimates Estimates Forecast istachios, In-shell Basis 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 Post Data Post Data Post Data Area Planted 3,600 3,650 3,650 Area Harvested 3,550 3,640 3,600 Beginning stocks 200 200 200 Production 2,500 3,100 2,500 Imports 10,479 6,700 6,690 Total Supply 13,179 10,000 9,390 Exports 694 345 344 Domestic consumption 12,285 9,455 8,846 Ending stocks 200 200 200 Total Distribution 13,179 10,000 9,390 Source: Unofficial estimates based on industry contacts; GTA PRODUCTION Pistachio is a traditional crop in Italy, especially in the Sicily region (Bronte area), where more than 90 percent of the production is located. “Bianca” (also called “Napoletana”) is the main pistachio variety grown in Italy and is normally harvested in September. In recent years, pistachio production has slightly expanded to other areas in Sicily and Basilicata, where newer and input intensive orchards have been planted. Since 2004, pistachio from Bronte has been recognized by the European Commission as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), also known as Geographic Indication of Origin. Pistachio production is cyclical, with trees bearing heavily in alternate years. MY 2012 will be a lower bearing year. CONSUMPTION Italian in-shell pistachios are consumed as a snack food. Bakeries and food companies use shelled pistachios, while ice-cream makers mainly employ milled pistachios. TRADE Italian pistachio production is not sufficient to cover domestic demand, resulting in significant imports from Iran (via Germany and Belgium) and the United States. MY 2012 imports are forecast to remain flat. II. ALMONDS Table 2: Production, Supply and Demand (MT) 2010 2011 2012 Estimates Estimates Forecast Almonds, Shelled Basis 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 Post Data Post Data Post Data Area Planted 77,098 75,453 75,400 Area Harvested 75,917 74,625 74,572 Beginning stocks 1,000 1,000 1,000 Production 6,000 5,000 4,545 Imports 33,692 35,403 35,407 Total Supply 40,692 41,403 40,952 Exports 6,406 7,409 7,410 Domestic consumption 33,286 32,994 32,542 Ending stocks 1,000 1,000 1,000 Total Distribution 40,692 41,403 40,952 Source: Istat; Unofficial estimates based on industry contacts; GTA PRODUCTION MY 2012 almond production is forecast to decrease from the previous year to around 4,545 MT. Due to strong competition from competitively priced Californian almonds, cultivation in Italy has become less profitable. Therefore, many farmers have been abandoning this crop or shifting to more profitable cultivations (i.e., citrus fruit, wine grapes, horticultural products). In addition, almond orchards are often located in areas where mechanization is not always feasible. For all these reasons, planted area is forecast to further decline in the future. CONSUMPTION MY 2012 almond consumption is forecast to remain stable. In-shell almonds are mainly sold for fresh consumption. Shelled almonds are milled and generally used as a raw material for confectionary and bakery food companies. TRADE MY 2012 almond imports are forecast to remain flat. Italy exports its almond production mainly to Germany, France, and the UK. III. WALNUTS Table 3: Production, Supply and Demand (MT) 2010 2011 2012 Waln Estimates Estimates Forecast uts, In-shell Basis 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 Post Data Post Data Post Data Area Planted 4,100 4,000 4,000 Area Harvested 3,600 3,500 3,900 Beginning stocks 300 2,000 2,000 Production 15,000 12,000 10,500 Imports 41,403 41,478 41,480 Total Supply 56,703 55,478 53,980 Exports 4,472 4,137 4,135 Domestic consumption 50,231 49,341 47,845 Ending stocks 2,000 2,000 2,000 Total Distribution 56,703 55,478 53,980 Source: Unofficial estimates based on industry contacts; GTA PRODUCTION Italy lost its walnut market leadership a few decades ago and now is a major importer, mainly from the United States. Because farmers generally grow walnut trees for both timber and nuts, nut yields and quality have suffered. Higher input costs and lower prices have negatively affected crop profitability. As a result, Italian walnut production supplies about 20 percent of domestic requirements and the remainder is imported. Most walnuts are cultivated in Campania (Southern Italy), where the main varieties are “Sorrento” and “Malizia.” Some farmers in Northern Italy have established efficient and profitable walnut orchards planted with the “Chandler” and “Lara” varieties. MY 2012 walnut harvest is forecast at 10,500 MT, which represents the average production in Italy. Quality is expected to be good. MY 2011 has been an exceptional year in terms of quantity. CONSUMPTION In-shell and shelled walnuts for fresh consumption are mainly purchased during the winter months. However, more consumers are increasingly purchasing walnuts all year round, due to their perceived nutritional benefits. According to a recent survey, walnuts account for more than 16 percent of total Italian large retailers’ tree nuts sales. TRADE Up until June, Italy mainly imports in-shell walnuts (mostly the “Hartley” variety) from the United States. Then, walnuts are imported principally from South America (Chile and Argentina) and Australia. France is also a major supplier to the Italian market. Additionally, new suppliers, such as Ukraine and Bulgaria, have been gradually increasing their walnut shipments to Italy for the last three years. IV. HAZELNUTS Table 4: Production, Supply and Demand (MT) 2010 2011 2012 Haze Estimates Estimates Forecast lnuts, In-shell Basis 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 Post Data Post Data Post Data Area Planted 70,464 70,492 70,492 Area Harvested 67,270 67,308 67,000 Beginning stocks 12,000 5,000 22,000 Production 93,644 128,947 100,000 Imports 79,347 62,190 62,188 Total Supply 184,991 196,137 184,188 Exports 22,778 32,559 32,561 Domestic consumption 157,213 141,578 146,627 Ending stocks 5,000 22,000 5,000 Total Distribution 184,991 196,137 184,188 Source: Istat; Unofficial estimates based on industry contacts; GTA PRODUCTION Italy is the second largest hazelnut producer in the world ahead of U.S., but behind Turkey, whose huge supply dominates the world market. Italian hazelnut producers have increasingly improved their production techniques (irrigation, fertilization, pesticide use, and mechanization) enhancing yield and maintaining Italy’s competitiveness in the world market. The average farm net revenue fluctuates between €2,500 and 3,000/ha. Hazelnut production is spread around Italy with concentrations in Piedmont region (Northern Italy), Viterbo province (Central Italy), Sicily region, and Avellino province (Southern Italy). MY 2012 hazelnut production is forecast to decrease by 22 percent compared to the previous year because of the dryness. Furthermore, the production decrease is also linked to the cyclical swings in yields that make MY 2012 a “lower” bearing year. CONSUMPTION Hazelnuts in Italy are sold both in-shell and shelled. In-shell hazelnuts are generally sold as a snack for fresh consumption while shelled ones ―both whole and milled nuts― are usually employed as a raw material for confectionary and bakery industries. Furthermore, low quality shelled hazelnuts are often used by cosmetic companies. Approximately 90 percent of the Italian harvest goes to processing companies, whereas fresh consumption represents the remaining 10 percent. TRADE MY 2012 hazelnuts trade balance is forecast to remain steady. Figures show a stable trend over the years, with imports of shelled hazelnuts mainly from the world leader Turkey, but also increasingly from Azerbaijan and Georgia. Exports of shelled products are destined for Germany, France, and Switzerland. Abbreviations and Definitions Used in this Report MY Marketing Year Almonds, Hazelnuts and Pistachios: September/August Walnuts: October/September HS Codes: Almonds: Shelled 080212; In-shell 080211 Walnuts: Shelled 080232; In-shell 080231 Filberts/Hazelnuts: Shelled 080222; In-shell 080221 Pistachios: 080250 Conversion factors used to convert shelled to in-shell tree nuts: Almonds: 3.3 Hazelnuts: 2.03 Walnuts: 3.3 Pistachios: 1.5 Ha hectare; 1 ha = 2.471 acres MT Metric ton = 1,000 kg MS EU member state(s)
Posted: 10 November 2012

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