Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Orchard area up 6% in five yrs, fruit grower numbers drop

ČTK |
4 February 2013

Prague, Feb 3 (CTK) - Orchard area in the Czech Republic has increased by 6 percent to 21,347 hectares in the past five years, while the number of fruit growers has dropped by 15 percent, according to results of survey Ovocne sady 2012 (Fruit Orchards 2012), released by the Czech Statistical Office (CSU).

Statisticians registered the biggest growth of over 40 percent for the area of plum and pear orchards in 2007-2012.

The area planted with apple trees rose by 6 percent. Apple orchards cover almost a half of the total orchard area in the Czech Republic.

In contrast, the area planted with peach, sour cherry and apricot trees decreased markedly.

The number of fruit growers in the Czech Republic dropped from 2,811 in 2007 to 2,388 last year, according to the survey.

The average size of an orchard grew by one-quarter to 8.94 hectares in the past five years. Overall, statisticians registered 21 million fruit trees in the Czech Republic last year, which was around 450,000 more than in 2007.

Fruit consumption in the Czech Republic has been falling in recent years owing to people's efforts to cut spending.

While in 2009 the consumption stood at a record of 90.4 kilogrammes per capita a year, during the following two years it sank by 13 percent to 79 kilogrammes per capita. The biggest drop was registered in the consumption of apples.

Fruit harvest in the Czech Republic amounted to 138,205 tonnes last year, which was 5 percent lower than the average of the past five years. The harvest decreased mainly due to spring frosts that affected particularly stone fruit.

The harvest of stone fruit was one of the worst ever. Apricot harvest, for example, dropped by three-quarters to mere 904 tonnes, the lowest figure in history.

Around one-quarter of annual consumption of fruit grown in the temperate zone is imported to the Czech Republic.

A growth in fruit self-sufficiency is one of the goals of the strategy of Czech agriculture and food production growth as of 2014 that has recently been presented

Fruit growers say the problem of Czech fruit production is a high age of orchards and a falling fruit yield.

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