Agricultural production - orchards


Data extracted in September 2014. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: February 2019.

This article is part of a set of statistical articles based on the Eurostat publication Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics. In order to complement the yearly production data, Eurostat collects also data on structural aspects of permanent crops every 5 years. The latest data collection for orchards referred to 2012 as reference year. The species surveyed are apple trees, pear trees, apricot trees, peach trees, orange trees, small-citrus fruit trees, lemon trees, olive trees and on voluntary basis vines producing grapes for table use. Olive trees and vines producing table grapes were surveyed for the first time.

Table 1: Area under apple, pear, peach, apricot, orange, lemon and small citrus fruit trees, 2012
(ha)
Source: Eurostat (orch_total)
Figure 1: Most important countries with area under apple trees, 2012
(ha)
Source: Eurostat (orch_apples2)
Figure 2: Evolution of the apple tree area in EU-15/27/28, 2002–12
(ha)
Source: Eurostat (orch_apples3)
Figure 3: Production area for selected species of fruit trees in 2012
(1 000 ha)
Source: Eurostat (orch_total)
Figure 4: Main variety groups by species of fruit trees in 2012
Source: Eurostat (orch_total)
Figure 5: Area under olive trees by EU Member States in EU-28, 2012
Source: Eurostat (orch_olives2)
Figure 6: Area under olive trees by age classes in EU-28, 2012
Source: Eurostat (orch_olives1)
Figure 7: Area under olive trees by density classes in EU-28, 2012
Source: Eurostat (orch_olives2)
Figure 8: Area under table grapes in Spain, France, Italy and Romania, 2012
(ha; density classes)
Source: Eurostat (orch_grapes2)

Main statistical findings

The seven fruit and citrus fruit species assessed in the 2012 Orchard survey covered an area of 1.29 million hectares (ha) in the EU. This is 5.5 % (75 000 ha) less than in the 2007 Orchard survey (which did not include Croatia with about 8 000 ha).

The most common fruit tree in the EU is by far the apple tree. It accounts for more than one third (35 %) of the total surveyed European orchard area. The second and third most commonly cultivated species are oranges and peaches (including nectarines), with shares of nearly 21 % and 15 % respectively. Small citrus fruit trees cover more than 11 % of the total surveyed fruit tree area (Table 1). The share of different fruit and citrus fruit species has been fairly stable between 2007 and 2012.

Spain has the largest surveyed European fruit and citrus fruit tree area (33.5 %), followed by Italy (22.1 %) and Poland (11.7 %), a country which has specialised in apple production.

Apple trees

Apple trees are the most common fruit tree type in the EU covering 450 000 ha (Figure 1). Poland is the biggest apple growing country with nearly one third of the EU total apple tree area. Italy and Romania follow with each a share of over 11 %. France (8 %), Germany (7 %), Spain (6 %) and Hungary (nearly 6 %) are also major apple producing countries. Together these seven EU Member States cover more than 80 % of the total EU area under apple trees.

Figure 2 shows the evolution of the area under apple trees in the EU Member States from 2002 to 2012. With the most recent EU enlargements the apple tree area more than doubled. Poland, Italy and Romania are among the biggest apple producers in the EU.

In most EU Member States the apple production area for the market has been decreasing over time. Between 2007 and 2012 the decrease has been particularly noticeable for the major producers in some of the new EU Member States (Poland, Romania and Hungary), while Spain and France have experienced significant decreases since 2002. On the other hand the apple tree area in the smaller apple producing countries has increased.

Other fruit trees

Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are the EU’s largest citrus fruit (oranges, small citrus fruits and lemons) producing countries. After apple and citrus fruit trees, peaches (including nectarines) is the most important fruit tree species in the EU with 200 000 ha. Spain has the largest producing area for peaches followed by Italy and Greece (Figure 3).

The area under pear trees covers about 105 000 ha. The pear tree area is distributed more evenly between the Member States due to its suitability for wider climatic conditions. However, even for pear trees Italy and Spain cover together approximately 50 % of the EU total area. Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands each represent from 8 % to 9 % of the EU total pear tree area.

Apricot trees grew on almost 68 000 ha in 2012. The three most important apricot producing countries in the EU were again Spain (30 %), Italy (nearly 25 %) and France (nearly 19 %).

Main fruit varieties

Figure 4 presents the share of the most important varieties or groups of varieties by species. The larger the size of the ‘Others’ category, the greater is the diversity of the varieties of the corresponding species. Navel oranges account for over half of the oranges (63.5 %), and clementines dominate (71.7 %) the small citrus fruits. High percentages are also recorded for yellow flesh peaches (48.6 %) and conference pears (31.1 %). For apple trees, Golden Delicious is the most important variety group with 17.6 % of the area, followed by Idared (10.3 %) and Jonagold/Jonagored (9.3 %). However, over 60 % of the apple tree area was covered by ‘Other’ variety groups. For approximately 7 000 ha of the apple tree area the variety group information is not available.

Olive trees

The area under olive trees accounted for about 4.65 million ha in the EU in 2012. The olive production is concentrated in the Mediterranean area. Eight EU Member States have area under olive trees exceeding 1 000 ha (the threshold for the orchard survey). Spain (53 %) and Italy (24 %) account for over three quarters of the total EU area under olive trees. They are followed by Greece and Portugal with 15 % and 7 % of the total EU area under olive trees. The other olive producing EU Member States (France, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia) each hold a small share of the total olive tree area (together about 1 %).

Olive trees are very resistant to drought, diseases and fire. They are known for their longevity. Most of the areas under olive trees in Europe are old. Nearly 2.7 million ha are at least 50 years old, almost 1.5 million ha are 12–49 years old, 313 000 ha are between 5 and 11 years old and about 130 000 ha are less than 5 years old (see Figure 6).

Figure 7 shows the density classes of olive trees. The least densely planted olive groves (less than 140 trees per ha) cover almost half of the total area. Another 47 % is covered by plantations with 140 to 399 trees per ha. Only the remaining 5 % of the area is planted densely with 400 trees per hectare or more.

Vines producing table grapes

Data on table grapes are available for four EU Member States, namely Spain, France, Italy and Romania. The most important table grape producer in the EU is Italy with almost 35 700 ha, followed by Spain (about 11 400 ha), Romania (about 5 200 ha) and France (about 4 900 ha).

In all table grape producing countries more than half of the table grape area is densely planted (with more than 150 vines/ha) (Figure 8).

Data sources and availability

The orchard domain (orch) contains the results of the structural fruit tree surveys (apples, pears, peaches (including nectarines), apricots, oranges, lemons, small citrus fruits, and since 2012, olives and vines intended for the production of table grapes). In the orchard survey, data on the areas are collected (in hectares) by variety, age and density classes, by country and by NUTS 1 regions. Data are mainly grouped in tables by fruit tree species.

The statistical surveys on orchard area are carried out every five years by the EU Member States in order to determine the production potential of plantations of certain species of fruit trees. These surveys have been carried out since 1977. In accordance with Regulation 1337/2011, the next Orchard survey will be carried out for the reference year 2017.

The survey includes all areas intended to produce for the market even those which are not yet in production. The total survey area deviates from the area of the Member State orchards registered in the annual crop statistics, where only areas in production are covered.

Context

There is a diverse range of natural environments, climates and farming practices across the European Union (EU), reflected in the broad array of food and drink products that are made available for human consumption and animal feed, as well as a range of inputs for non-food processes. Indeed, agricultural products form a major part of the cultural identity of the EU’s people and its regions.

Statistics on agricultural products may be used to analyse developments within agricultural markets in order to help distinguish between cycles and changing production patterns; they can also be used to study how markets respond to policy actions. Agricultural product data also provide supply-side information, furthering understanding as regards price developments which are of particular interest to agricultural commodity traders and policy analysts.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Data visualisation

Publications

Database

Other sub-national statistics (reg_nat)
Orchard statistics by production region (reg_orch)
  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries, see:
Agriculture (agri)
Structure of orchards and vineyards (orch_vit)
Orchard (orch)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

  • Orchard (ESMS metadata file — orch_esms)

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

Other information