"Disaster for Belgian apple farmers this season"

The apple harvest in Belgium is expected to be no less than 68 percent down on the year. Last year was already a poor year due to a wet month of June. Belgian pears are also hit by the late frost this spring, but not so hard. Experts estimate the pear harvest will be 7 percent down on the year.

"This year is a disaster for Belgian apple farmers." That's the main conclusion after the estimations were published. Yesterday, the harvest estimations for the whole of Europe were presented in Lerida in Spain. Belgium, where the poll included no fewer than 250 fruit farms, turns out be badly affected by the late night frost in April, when the fruit trees were blossoming.

The frost destroyed many flowers. It is expected that the Belgian apple production will be 68 percent down on the year, while 2016 was already a poor year due to a very wet month of June. Generally speaking, this year's apple harvest will be almost three quarters down (73 percent) on the average. The apples that made it, are also a lot bigger than usual as there were fewer of them to be fed by one tree.

The pear harvest is 7 percent down on the year, but 15 percent below the average seen over a longer period.

Small apple country, but bigger pear industry

Seen from a European level, Belgium is only a small player, accounting for just 1 percent of apple production. Belgium only has 6,164 hectares of apple orchards left, compared to 10,023 hectares for pear trees. This makes Belgium a more significant pear country, responsible for 14 percent of Europe's production. Belgium is Europe's number one for the renowned Conférence pear.

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