Pumpkin GWS Market Update – May 2024

Pumpkin GWS Polish Origin

Spis treści

As we reach the halfway point of the 2024 pumpkin sowing season in Poland, many domestic farmers have yet to plant their crops. In Poland, the total planted area for the 2024 crop is predicted to be similar to 2023, while Austria and China plan to increase their production volumes in 2024 season by double digits.

We will also discuss what has been happening in the past season on the Pumpkin GWS market in Europe and whether European production can meet its growing demand. Additionally, we will delve into the pricing fluctuations for Pumpkin GWS in Europe and take a closer look at the general Pumpkin situation in China.

What’s New for Pumpkin GWS Production in Europe?

Poland accounts for nearly 40% of the EU’s total pumpkin production, with over 400 000 tons harvested in 2022. However, the output of Pumpkins grown for seeds, particularly the oil-type Gleisdorfer variety, is much smaller. In 2023, pumpkin production intended for seeds was estimated to be between 6 000 and 6 500 tons, based on data from a major seed distributor, although no official stats are published in this matter.

The new 2024 crop in Poland is expected to remain at similar levels to the 2023 market. However, with the planting only halfway done, there is potential for increased production depending on yields and final harvested volumes. With lower yields obtained in 2023, Polish farmers are hopeful for a better yield and higher harvested volumes in the 2024 season, especially with good weather forecasts.

Pumpkin GWS Polish origin before harvest Seedea 4
Pumpkin GWS Polish origin before harvest

Austrian pumpkin production totaled to 15 466 tons in 2023, a significant drop of 45% compared to 2022 due to poor weather conditions affecting yields. According to Statistik.at data, sowing in 2024 is predicted to reach around 33 023 hectares, a 16% increase from the 2023 season. However, current unfavorable weather conditions, including heavy rains, may again impact the yields for 2024 season.

Total Planting Area in 2022 in AustriaTotal Planting Area in 2023 in AustriaPlanting Area Forecasts in 2024 in Austria
37 310 ha28 425 ha33 023 ha

Rising Demand for European Pumpkin GWS

The demand for European Pumpkin GWS (Grown Without a Shell) has significantly increased due to reduced Chinese GWS pumpkin production, stricter EU regulations on imported products, and ongoing import challenges due to Red Sea Blockade. European buyers are shifting towards European-origin pumpkin GWS, primarily cultivated in Austria and Poland. This shift has led to a substantial price increase and scarcity of raw materials on the market.

Moreover, buyers are increasingly seeking more traceability of the sourced raw material. The new EU regulations and limits are easier to control closer to the origin, within Europe. This proximity allows for better oversight and compliance with stringent safety standards, ensuring higher quality and safer products overall.

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However, sourcing Pumpkin GWS from Europe is not without its challenges. There are concerns about microbiological issues, particularly e-coli contamination. This has led to changes in the market, with buyers searching for safer raw materials, potentially those that have undergone heat treatment to guarantee lower microbes values. As the market adapts, the focus on food safety and quality is likely to drive further changes in sourcing and production practices.

EU Pumpkin Price Volatility in 2023/2024

This season, prices for pumpkin GWS have been highly volatile, especially in Europe. At the beginning of the season, conventional Pumpkin GWS AA grade was priced around €3.30 per kg EXW, but prices have surged to €4.00 per kg EXW over the last few weeks. With higher demand, the prices continue to increase in Europe, and the new season will start not sooner than in September.

The demand for Organic Pumpkin GWS has also driven prices up significantly, with marginal availability of this product in China. Early season prices for organic pumpkin GWS were approximately €4.30 per kg EXW, but they have now jumped to €5.00 per kg EXW and higher. However, there is no longer possibility to contract Organic Pumpkin due to marginal availability of good, analysis approved product. Only spot purchases can be made at this stage of the season.

Pumpkin Kernels GWS in Bulk 2
Pumpkin Kernels GWS

Challenges and Changes in Chinese Pumpkin Production

China, a major producer of pumpkin seeds, faced several challenges in the 2023/2024 season, including lower pumpkin production, a huge decrease in Pumpkin GWS crop, farmers switching to other, more profitable crops, and logistics problems due to the Red Sea blockade.

Despite these challenges, China’s total planting area for 2024 is expected to increase by nearly 20% compared to the previous year. However, this increase is primarily due to the increase in Pumpkin Shine Skin production, which accounts for 74% of the total planted area. GWS pumpkin production remains low at only 2% of the total area. Additionally, strict EU regulations on pesticides and phosphonic acid limits are making it harder for Chinese exporters to comply with EU food law, further complicating the export possibilites.

Total Planting Area in 2023 in ChinaPlanting Area Forecasts in 2024 in China
136 850 ha164 890 ha

Importers, on the other hand, are also experiencing disruptions in ocean freight shipments due to the Red Sea blockade, with shipments from China taking considerably longer, typically between 50 to 70 days. This delay is causing further complications for importers who rely on timely deliveries to meet market demand.

Pumpkin Market Summary

The 2024 pumpkin sowing season in Poland is at its halfway point, with predictions for similar quantities to the 2023 crop. China plans to increase its total pumpkin production area by 20%, though this remains lower than the 2022 volumes. European production, especially in Austria, faces challenges with weather conditions impacting crop, and possibly lowering final yield.

The demand for European pumpkin GWS has risen due to reduced Chinese production and stricter EU import regulations, leading to significant price increases in Europe. In China, production is shifting towards the more profitable Shine Skin variety, with ongoing logistical challenges affecting the market.

Overall, the pumpkin GWS market is experiencing volatility, driven by a combination of production challenges and shifting demand dynamics.

Source:

  1. “Poland the Largest Producer of Pumpkins in the EU” available at: https://www.seedworld.com/europe/2024/03/07/poland-the-largest-producer-of-pumpkins-in-the-eu/ (accessed on May 16, 2024).
  2. “Independent statistics for evidence-based decision making” available at:
    https://www.statistik.at/ (accessed on May 16, 2024).
  3. “Millionenschaden für Landwirte durch Starkregen” available at:
    https://steiermark.orf.at/v2/news/stories/2668480/ (accessed on May 16, 2024).

Author

Piotr Goral Post Picture

Piotr Góral

Co-Founder of Seedea

piotr@seedea.pl

+48 500 831 909

For many years, together with his small team, he has been boosting the sales of Polish family companies that supply food ingredients (mainly organic) to different foreign markets. His role involves creating new business projects and managing sales. He loves visiting suppliers and farmers during his travels, gathering valuable information that he shares through his articles.

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