Representatives of Southern Hemisphere tree fruit producers report that their 2006 apple crop is 8 percent smaller than last year’s, but their pear crop is 9 percent larger.

At the annual meeting of the World Apple and Pear Association in Berlin in February, industry groups in Chile, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and New Zealand estimated that their combined apple production this season will total 4 million tons, and their pear production will be 1.3 million tons.

Stocks of European apples, as of January 1, 2006, totaled 2.6 million tons, an increase of 4 percent from the same time last year, and the pear stocks were reported to be 450,000 tons, a 6 percent increase from last year.

According to Dr. Tom Lyall of the WAPA secretariat, the association’s members compile the production statistics to provide sound information on which operators can base their decisions. The crop forecasting is part of an effort to increase transparency and improve the fortunes of the global apple and pear business. WAPA members see the timely flow of accurate data on the European apple and pear stocks as an essential step towards transparency.

WAPA members discussed novel ways to promote apples and pears in the coming seasons. They see developing new consumers as key to raising overall demand, as per-capita consumption is stagnant.

Chris Zanobini of California is the current WAPA president.