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Pears: production drops across Europe

From the Interpera international conference, held in Portugal, still not very comforting data emerges

Interpera, the international pear congress, held this year in Óbidos, Portugal on 26 and 27 June, saw the largest number of participants in the last ten years. Around 200 producers, researchers, national and international companies in the sector gathered in the Oeste region, the cradle of Rocha pear production, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of pear production, in a rare opportunity to network and exchange experiences multicultural businesses.

In addition to the large Portuguese participation, a large foreign delegation was present, with nine countries represented: Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina and the United States. The Portuguese Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries José Manuel Fernandes attended the event, closing it with a message inviting all professionals to work together to face the challenges of the sector, underlining the need to promote and defend the Rocha pear, which represents Portuguese territory. Fernandes said that "after a difficult campaign in 2023, mainly due to climate changes that have affected European productions, it is essential to invest in research to fight pests, tackle extreme climate conditions and improve the commercial organization of the sector". Over the course of the two days, other challenges and opportunities affecting the sector were discussed: European regulations, water use, soil health, marketing, the orchard of the future, diseases and pests.

Interpera also analyzed the past campaign and revealed the first data and trends for the 2024 pear harvest in Europe, with a clear setback for the next production season due to unstable climate conditions. Belgium expects a drop of almost 30%. Spain's total harvest is likely to decline by 25% due to the effects of water stress suffered by trees during the latest campaign. A drop in the harvest is also expected in the Netherlands. Portugal, France and Italy are recovering production, but are not reaching their full potential.

Portugal is one of the main European producers of pears. The Rocha variety, symbol of the Oeste region, generates an annual export turnover of around 85 million euros, demonstrating the growing international demand for Rocha pears. In 2022/2023, the national Pera Rocha was exported to 20 countries, with three main destinations occupying the podium: Europe (50%), Morocco (20%) and Brazil (20%).

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EFA News - European Food Agency