Southern crop down 3% Forecasts by the USDA that southern hemisphere pear production this season will be marginally down 3% appears to be accurate. Argentina, in particular, has suffered some losses with a decline of around 15% while Australia also has a lighter crop but not of the same magnitude. Long term, however, these traditional sources continue to show concern over the ultimate effect of the continuing boom in China which has seen production rise by 700,000 tonnes in the last year. This brings its increase to 2.2 million tonnes over the last four years, larger than the entire European crop. Many growers do not think it will be long before this source has an effect on world markets, as is becoming evident with apples. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}