Apple prices to go up as supply from China drops

April 18th, 2010 - 7:10 am ICT by IANS  

Shaan Beijing, April 18 (IANS) Apple prices may go up in the international markets as China, a major supplier of the fruit, has reported a drop in their supply this week due to a bitter cold gripping the northern parts of the country.
In Shaanxi province, the country’s largest apple growing base, more than 22 counties recorded the lowest temperatures in four decades this week, Xinhua reported.

Government data show 310,000 hectares of farmland were affected, of which 67,000 hectares cannot not be used for harvest at all.

Farm output in some hardest-hit counties is estimated to drop by 90 percent.

Wang Zhenxing, senior provincial agriculture official, said last year’s apple production in Shaanxi was 8.5 million tonnes, which accounted for one third of the country’s total.

Shaanxi supplies apple juice to more than 30 countries, he said.

“China’s export quality apples mostly come from Shaanxi, so the province can swing prices on the international market,” Guo Minzhu, expert with the provincial agriculture bureau, said Saturday.

He said the prices of apple juice in particular will be affected due to the drop in supply.

China’s other major apple growing areas in Shaanxi, Henan and Gansu provinces were also affected by the cold condition, industry observers said.

Fruit trader Cao Jihua said his firm received overseas orders of apples averaging 20 tonnes every year, but this year he was not able to source quality fruits from the farms.

“Disaster hit major apple growing bases this year. No doubt the prices will go up,” Cao said.

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