The Swedish government set a goal of having 20% of the total crop area grown organically by 2010. Organic fruit acreage did not make the goal and is still less than 5%. Growers fear low yields and poor quality by not using chemical pesticides in organic systems. Apple production would decline significantly in Sweden if the majority of growers gave up the use of pesticides and used organic methods. A major problem for apple growers in Sweden is apple scab.
“There is a large demand for domestically grown apples in Sweden. However, approximately 85% of the apples consumed in Sweden are imported, and the percentage of imported organic apples is even higher. Organic fruit is produced on 4% of the orchard area.
The estimated cost price of producing organic apples in a 5 ha orchard is €1.14 per kg, which is twice as high as for conventionally produced apples, mainly due to lower yields in organic production. Modern apple orchards have average yields of 40 ton/ha in conventional production and around 20 ton/ha in organic production.
The high cost price of organic apples was mainly due to lower yields in organic production, but also higher costs for weed control. Although it is possible to generate similar economic returns from organic production, few conventional growers in Sweden are converting to organic production. Another obstacle is that growers fear low yields and poor quality in organic production due to pests, diseases and weeds.”
Authors: Ascard, J., et al.
Affiliation: Swedish Board of Agriculture.
Title: Cost price calculations for organically and conventionally grown apples in Sweden.
Source: Ecofruit Proceedings. 2010.