Top 5 Peaches and Nectarines Producing Countries in the World
09 Sep 2019 • by Natalie Aster
LONDON – The peach (belonging to the species Prunus persica) is a deciduous tree native to the Northwest region of China (between the northern slopes of the Kunlun Mountains and the Tarim Basin), where this fruit tree, bearing an edible, juicy fruit widely known as a peach or a nectarine, was not only first cultivated but also domesticated. Despite being commercially marketed as different fruits, peaches and nectarines belong to the same species their difference is only in fuzz on the skin. The name persica has originated in the wake of widespread cultivation of this fruit tree in Persia (nowadays – Iran), from where it was brought to the European region.
As of 2016, the volume of the world’s total production of peaches and nectarines totaled some 24.97 million tonnes. In 2017, the global peaches and nectarines production was estimated at slightly above 24.66 million tons, whilst the world’s total area harvested for peach trees was a little over 1.52 million hectares.
In value terms, the worldwide market for peaches and nectarines totaled some USD 47.5 billion in 2018 and is projected to exceed USD 57 billion by the year 2024, exhibiting modest growth at a 3.26% CAGR in the coming years. The increasing number of health-conscious and wellness-oriented consumers will likely act as the major growth engine for this market as peaches and nectarines are recognised as nutrient-rich fruits.
Structure of the global peach and nectarine production by region
The top five peaches and nectarines producing countries (namely China, Spain, Italy, Greece, and the USA) together command a share of nearly 85% of the world’s total production volume of these fruits, with China grabbing a bulk share (nearly 66%) of the global volume.
Top 5 peach and nectarine producing countries in the world (in 1,000 metric tons)
China is an unrivalled global leader in peaches and nectarines production, which is well ahead of other producing countries. Almost 782 thousand hectares of the country’s land are used for peaches and nectarines harvesting.
In the 2016/2017 crop season, China produced some 14.2 MMT of peaches and nectarines. As of 2017/2018, the country’s output increased to around 14.3 MMT. In 2018/2019, the country’s production volume decreased to 13.5 MMT. Projections are made that China will likely gather about 15 MMT of peaches and nectarines in the next crop season – a record high crop volume for the country. A remarkable upturn in China’s peaches and nectarines production is attributed to favourable growing conditions in the majority of producing provinces in the early season, which countered dry conditions in the dominant producing province, Shandong.
With record production volume, China’s exports of peaches and nectarines are projected to reach nearly 60% - some 100 thousand tons; this will be attributed majorly to the higher shipments to Vietnam. Imports are also poised to increase to 28 thousand tons, spurred by the mounting demand for Chilean peaches and nectarines along with the elimination of the tariff on Australian imports on January 1, 2019.
Spain commands the second-biggest share of the global peaches and nectarines production. The country’s crop volume totaled 1.79 MMT in 2016/2017. In 2017/18, Spain’s peaches and nectarines production witnessed a remarkable drop backed by the poor weather conditions and totaled a little over 1.47 MMT. In 2018/2019, the volume of Spain’s production of peaches and nectarines added some 130 thousand tons and exceeded 1.6 MMT.
Peaches and nectarines harvested area in Spain is estimated at slightly over 84.2 thousand hectares. Aragon, Murcia, and Catalonia are the top three peaches producing autonomous communities in the country.
Spain is the important exporter of peaches and nectarines in the EU; the major destination countries of Spanish exports include Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Poland.
Italy is the third leading producer of peaches and nectarines on the global arena with the harvested area estimated at around 67 thousand hectares. Peaches and nectarines play a vital role in the agricultural sector of many regions in the country, both northern (especially Emilia-Romagna (the country’s top peaches and nectarines producing region) and Piedmont) and southern (primarily Campania).
In 2016/2017, the country gathered about 1.25 million metric tons (MMT) of peaches and nectarines. In 2017/2018 crop season, Italy’s peaches and nectarines production also exhibited a drop and decreased close to 1.1 MMT. In 2018/2019, Italy’s output of peaches and nectarines grew by appr. 15%, majorly owing to the increased production in southern regions of the country and totaled around 1.3 MMT.
Some of the major importers of Italian peaches and nectarines comprise Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the UK, and Switzerland.
Greece keeps the fourth position in the world in terms of peaches and nectarines production volume. Around 41 thousand hectares of the country’s land are used for peaches and nectarines production. The bulk share of the Greek output of these fruits comes from the northern part of the country – Macedonia (with Imathia and Pella being the key producing counties in the region).
In the 2016/2017 crop season, the volume of peaches and nectarines production in Greece was estimated at appr. 902 thousand metric tons (TMT). As of 2017/2018, Greece was one of the few countries that witnessed growth in the production of peaches and nectarines, which reached 938 TMT. In 2018/2019, the volume of peaches and nectarines harvested in Greece also demonstrated positive growth owing to good weather conditions.
Greece is one of the prominent exporters of peaches and nectarines in the EU. The major part of the country’s exports goes to Eastern Europe, whilst attempts are made to deepen its foothold in the Middle East. However, in Western Europe, Greece exporters face strong competition from Spain and Italy, which are geographically in a more favourable position.
The USA ranks the fifth leading producer of peaches and nectarines on the global arena. Some 45.3 thousand hectares of the country’s land are used for the harvesting of these fruits. California, South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are five leading peaches and nectarines producing states in the USA, with California having a strong lead over its competitors.
In 2016/2017, the USA gathered slightly more than 775 TMT of peaches and nectarines. The country’s output of these fruits decreased to 758 TMT in 2017/2018 and further declined to 687 TMT in 2018/2019. In the next crop season, the USA peaches and nectarines production volume is anticipated to ramp, registering a 20% YoY increase, and amount to nearly 824 TMT.
Higher production volumes in the next crop year will likely encourage the growth of the USA exports of peaches and nectarines, majorly to its key export destinations, namely Canada and Mexico. Meantime, the USA imports of peaches and nectarines are predicted to decrease in the coming year, primarily due to lower shipments from Chile.
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