“The French apple keeps its power of attraction in Newton’s country”

Raw materials. At the beginning of April, a wave of polar cold swept over France. Few areas escaped the bite of the frost. And the arborists shivered with worry. Despite the fires lit in the fields, they feared their hopes of a harvest would go up in smoke. As apples tumble onto the stalls and, from gala red to green Granny Smith to golden yellow, play traffic lights in the eyes of consumers, the time has come to take stock.

How many apple growers have they lost? “Compared to our serious fears in April, the situation has improved”, answers Daniel Sauvaitre, arboriculturist in Reignac in Charente and president of the National Association of apple trees. He explains: “The frost destroyed the first open flowers, but there were a lot of secondary blooms. “ As a result, according to still provisional estimates, French apple production could reach 1.37 million this year. Or a volume almost similar to that of 2020, amounted to 1.33 million tonnes. It was the smallest harvest in seven years at the time.

“The British are hungry”

Even if, in certain regions, such as the Alps, the Rhone Valley and Provence, the damage is greater and if, sometimes, farmers have seen their apple harvest go into a marmalade, the overall results are less bitter than anticipated. . Mother Nature has worked miracles. A shot of frost, and it starts again! Downside, however, at this pastoral symphony, the fruits from this second flowering are smaller and less free from blemishes. Do not worry, however, the fruits considered ugly by the distribution will delight juice and compote manufacturers.

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Another reason for satisfaction for arborists. The French apple retains its power of attraction in Newton’s country. “Necessity rules. The British are hungry and face less busy shelves. Despite Brexit, the United Kingdom remains our biggest market with profitable prices ”, says Mr. Sauvaitre. Nearly 120,000 tonnes are eaten across the Channel. No British problem for the French apple…

The situation is less flourishing in Asia and the Middle East. French arborists are losing ground in the face of increased competition. Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Macedonia compete for the markets, everyone thinking “It’s for my apple”, at the risk of crushing prices. Above all, Poland, whose orchards have been supercharged thanks to European subsidies, now ranks third in the world among producers, behind China and the United States. In 2021, with the “champion” variety, it should garner 4.2 million tonnes. What weigh on the markets. Especially since some countries have closed the borders. Russia’s 2014 embargo on European food products has stuck in the throats of the Poles. The same goes for France, when Algeria blocked flows in 2016. Imported apples have become a forbidden fruit …

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“The French apple keeps its power of attraction in Newton’s country”