Hazelnut production forecasts for key countries in 2020 published at INC webinar


Hazelnut production forecasts for key countries in 2020 published at INC webinar

06/11/2020

In 2020, due to frosts, the forecast for hazelnut harvest in Italy is lower, the potential is about 135 thousand tons

Traditionally, in May, the main hazelnut producing countries discuss crop forecasts for the new season. Country representatives shared operational information and forecasts for the 2020/21 season at the International Nut Board Council (INC) webinar on June 10, 2020.

According to preliminary estimates, the hazelnut crop in Turkey in 2020 will be about 620 thousand tons. This figure already takes into account crop losses due to rains at the end of May in the amount of about 15%. This season, Turkish producers expect the hazelnut kernel to be medium-sized, and of course, much depends on weather conditions over the next 8 weeks. In the 2019/20 season, Turkey received a record crop of hazelnuts over the past 10 years. Accordingly, the export of these nuts from Turkey was also a record.

Italy has 80 thousand ha of hazelnut orchards, of which 97% are concentrated in four regions – Piedmont, Lazio, Campagna and Sicily. About 2.5 thousand hectares, that is, about 3% are new plantations in regions that are not traditional hazelnut producers. “We expect that over the next 10 years, the area under hazelnuts in Italy will reach 100 thousand ha,” said Ricardo Kalgani, chairman of the Borges Group. “If it weren’t for the March frosts that hit three times at different times, and some outdated plantations where productivity decreases (average productivity is 2.5 tons / ha), Italy would have reached its potential of 150 thousand tons.”

Therefore, in 2020 due to frost, the forecast for hazelnut harvest in Italy is lower than the potential and is about 135 thousand tons.

While Italy is increasing its production of hazelnuts, Spain is focused on expanding the area under almonds. Since the whole nut industry in Spain is concentrated on processing almonds, the interest of farmers in hazelnuts is not very high and the area under this nut in Spain is declining.

In France, hazelnuts are expected to fall by 14% this season compared to 2019 as a result of frost damage. Almost all processing of hazelnuts in France is concentrated in one cooperative – UNICOQUE, which brings together more than 350 producers and 6.5 thousand ha of hazelnuts. The association processes 98% of French hazelnuts and exports it mainly to Germany, Spain and Italy. Hazelnuts are sold in shells to final consumers. It’s quite difficult for French walnut growers to compete in price with products from the Black Sea region, especially from Turkey. On average, Turkish hazelnuts are 20% cheaper than French, and in quality it is not inferior to products from the south-west of France.

See also: Crisis will affect walnut market less than hazelnut market – opinion

“In the US and Chile, farmers enthusiastically plant new hazelnut plantations. New hazelnut gardens began to be actively laid since 2010. Now in the state of Oregon (USA) 33 thousand hectares are planted, about 17-19 thousand hectares are already bearing fruit, and the rest will be fruiting in the next 3-5 years. On average, 2 thousand hectares of hazelnut gardens are added annually. The University of Oregon is working to develop new varieties of hazelnuts that are suitable for blanching, ”says Larry George, spokeswoman for the Northwest Hazelnut Company.

Since Chile has a larger area for planting hazelnuts, the rate of laying new gardens in this country reaches 3 thousand hectares a year. Thanks to the use of intensive technologies and modern varieties, the average yield of hazelnuts in the USA and Chile is 3 tons per hectare.

“In the next 5-6 years, we expect a significant increase in supply from the United States and Chile,” Larry George summed up.

According to Ufuk Ozungun, who represents the Association of Exporters of Istanbul, in Georgia hazelnut production is expected to increase to 50 thousand tons from 40 thousand tons, thanks to the efforts of farmers and the state to combat the marble bug. “We also hope that the pandemic positively affected the quality of hazelnuts, as small farmers were forced to quarantine at home and had more time to look after their plantations,” Ozungun emphasized.

Azerbaijan also confirmed the forecast for hazelnut production of 50 thousand tons, despite the small spring frosts, which did not significantly affect the quality and quantity of the nut.

One of the main challenges of the sector is improving the quality of hazelnuts and the fight against marble bugs. The most affected regions are Georgia, Piedmont (Italy) and Oregon (USA). If in Georgia the problem was taken under control thanks to an active information campaign, then in Turkey they plan to fight by biological methods by spreading the natural enemy of this insect – samurai wasp – which reduces the population of the marble bug.

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