Cold snap may push up intl apple prices

08:48, April 19, 2010      

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A marked drop in the supply of apples in northern China, caused by an unusual cold snap this week, may push up the prices of apples and fruit juice on the international market, industry observers said Saturday.

In Shaanxi Province, the country's largest apple growing base, more than 22 counties recorded the lowest temperatures in four decades this week. Government data show 310,000 hectares of farmland were severely damaged, among which 67,000 hectares won't be suitable for harvest at all.

Farm output in some of the hardest-hit counties is expected to drop by 90 percent, the data show.

Wang Zhenxing, a senior provincial agriculture official, said last year Shaanxi Province's apple production - 8.05 million tons - accounted for one third of the country's total.

He said Shaanxi is a supplier of apple juice to more than 30 countries and regions in the world.

"China's export quality apples mostly come from Shaanxi, so the province can swing prices on the international market," said Guo Minzhu, an industry specialist with the provincial agriculture bureau.

Guo said the prices of apple juice in particular will be affected.

A cold snap also hit China's other major apple growing bases in Shanxi, Henan and Gansu provinces.

Fruit trader Cao Jihua said his firm received overseas orders for apples averaging 20 tons 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.

Source: Xinhua


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