European Chestnut White Paper

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2022 © Miriade & partners
European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA 1



EUROCASTANEA, A network, An ambition

A common vision:

'' Relaunching the European production to meet the demand from the fresh and processing markets, creating added value and developping consumption ''

Key figures of the chestnut ecosystem in Europe :

• Forestry area 2 000 000 ha

• AgroForestry area : 300 000 ha, of which 110 000 ha in the EU

• 90 000 producers, of which 65 000 in the EU

• European production : 212 000 tons, of which 150 000 tons in the EU

World production is estimated at 2 250 000 tons

European Chestnut White Paper,

This White book was written by : Jean-Luc Bellat and Jacques Dasque, representatives of the Interprofessionel Chestnut Union from the South west of France and of EUROCASTANEA

With collaboration of :

• Bertrand Guérin, Interbranch Chestnut Union from the South west of France

• José Gomes Laranjo, UTAD and RefCast, Portugal; EUROCASTANEA coordinator

• Juan Fernandez, Red Estatal de la Castaña, Spaing

• Tatiana Castelloti, CREA PB, Italy

• Gabriele Loris Beccaro, Torino University, Italy

• Laetitia Forget, AREFLH, France

• And with the help of many scientific and technical experts.

EUROCASTANEA would like to thank them for their work, effort and expertise.

Contacts :

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA



Eurocastanea shows a real ambition, a strong desire and a common action program that has the following goals :

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2 Improving
3 Creating
4 Developing
1 Stoping the decline of the European chestnut orchard through an ambitious plantation program
fruit quality and the health of orchards
added value at all levels through innovation
consumption in all its forms.

Axis 1: stoping the decline of the European chestnut grove 7

Axis 2 : improving the health status of the orchards 8

Axe 3 : creating added value 8

Axis 4 : developing consumption 9

Axis 5: recognition of chestnut orchards in European policies 9

World volumes in 2020 10

Production in Asia 13 Chine : the world leader 13 South Korea 16 Japan 18

European production in detail ...........................................................................................................................................................................................20

Evolution of the European production 23

Production in Italy 25 Production in Portugal 29 Production in Spain 33 Production in France 34 Production in Greece 39 Production in Turkey 42 Production in Austria 46 Production in Slovenia .......................................................................................................................................................................................................47 Production in Albania..........................................................................................................................................................................................................49 Production in Poland ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................50 Production in Hungary ........................................................................................................................................................................................................51 Production in Germany 51 Production in Croatia 51

Emerging producing countries 51 Australia 51 Chile 53 The United States 55

European trade 57 Imports to the EU 57 EU’s exports 60 Trade within EU countries 60

Italy 63 Portugal 65 Spain 66 France 67 Greece 69 Austria 70 Turkey 71

Italy : PDOs and PGIs 74

France : PDOs and PGIs 75 Portugal : PDOs and PGIs 76 Spain : PDOs, Marca de Garantia and PGIs 76 Turkey : the Protected Designation of Origin 76

The case of France 81

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA
1 EUROCASTANEA : A STRATEGY TO RELAUNCH THE EUROPEAN SECTOR...................................................... 7
3- TRADE 57
4 QUALITY SIGNS (PDOs, PGIs, and more)........................................................................................................................74
5 CONSUMPTION and PROCESSING IN EUROPE...........................................................................................................77
6 MICRO ECONOMIC ELEMENTS..........................................................................................................................................81
Consumption 77 Processing 78
EUROCASTANEA 6 7 EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES .................................................................................................................................................83
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The assets 83 The constraints 86


Keywords : Investment | planting | research | production | innovation Quality | communication | marketing

Axis 1: stoping the decline of the European chestnut grove

The sector’s main objective is to provide the means to quickly reverse the declining trend of the European chestnut production, in order to production level of the 1960’ s (400 000 tonnes) by strong, proactive and coordinate between the EUROCASTANEA countries.

The European chestnut market is highly deficitary, chestnut demand is actually high for both fresh and transformed products, still, the production does not meet this demand.

In order to maintain the 2000’s production, professionals are convinced of the importance to implement, in a deliberate and concerted manner, a plantation programme of 40 000 ha during the next 10 years. This requires:

• collective professional and interprofessional dynamics in the chestnut producter countries

• a strong support from national and regional public authorities to design finantial politics to support new investments in plantations and in the other levels within the sector

Renewing the chestnut orchards with regional and national plantation programmes

• Supporting plantation programmes for new orchards of hybrid and traditional varieties.

• Supporting stump grafting programmes.

• Relaunching breeding programmes of varieties and rootstocks

• Helping the renewal of the old traditional orchards: weeding, pruning, regrafting, replanting, etc.

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copyright : ferme du

• Developing the second pillar measures through agri environmental measures (AEM) adapted to the chestnut grove (by country or region) to compensate for the natural disadvantage of this production whose contribution to the preservation of the environment is undeniable.

Axis 2 : improving the health status of the orchards

The objective: producing quality fruits

The European production is severely handicapped by the persistence of fungal diseases and pests for which any effective control method exists. These are main challenges for the whole European chestnut sector:

Fighting against diseases and pests, in particular the following ones :

• The gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphillus): We have to continue our work on controlling it (via biological control with the introduction of Torymus sinensis, via monitoring of varietal sensitivities and also by monitoring theyr progress, both pest and parasitoide),

• Fruit rots and worms: it is important to accentuate research and control work to improve the health of the orchard. The objective is to limit the fruit losses related to crooked fruit (by Cydia sp. and Curculio elephas) or affected by rotting, (in particular due to Gnomoniopsis castanea) which can damage 30 to 40% of the production every year,

• The Phytophtora Root Rot (PRR) (due to Phytophthora sp.) which causes numerous trees deaths and is developing a lot,

• The blight bark disease (due to Chryphonectrya parasitica) which causes strong lesions on the bark of the branches

Amplifying research, in particular on the following points:

• Varieties and rootstocks with more tolerance against diseases, the different edaphoclimatic conditions of produter regions, especially under water stress conditions, in a context of global warming, further accentuated under the Mediterranean climate, and adapted to the market request,

• Technical production respectful of the environment,

• Harvesting techniques guaranteeing optimal quality,

• Storage techniques preserving fruit quality

Axe 3 : creating added-value

The objective : innovating, searching for new products, and new environment-friendly packages.

Developing a range of farm and industrial processed products

The observation of the Asian markets clearly shows that the range of processed products can be very wide and can include products with high added value for both the producer and the processor. The possibilities of progressing through innovation are numerous, they include :

• product and packaging innovations

• tangible and intangible investments

• training

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Identifying the productions of the European regions by their quality labels

Consumer demand is very strong for certified quality and products of origin. The chestnut has an asset : it is a strong origin-linked product, with an identity, a traditional and natural image Many European chestnut producing regions have implemented a quality label such as PGI, PDO. The low production volumes of the chesnut imply a likewise small impact at EU level. So, it is necessary to increase the visibility and notoriety of the products by communication and promotion actions.

Strengthening the organisation of the sector

Producer Organisations, national and regional interprofessionels are the basis of any strategy to renew and stimulate the European sector. They are the stakeholders of our European Chestnut Network, EUROCASTANEA, they allow constant and fruitful exchanges of experiences and good practices. In this context, an example of concerted action was the development of biological control against the gall wasp. It helped to quickly stop the disease from speading.

Axis 4 : developing consumption

The objective : increasing the consumption of chestnuts it all its forms

Communicating to distributers ans consumers

Two main points can be suggested:

• Bringing added-value to the fruit. The main function of the chestnut orchard is to produce nuts for human consumption. The European chestnut has remarkable assets and they must be highlighted by an adapted communication policy towards consumers and agri food professionals,

• Promoting the chestnut orchard and its socio economic impact in fragile rural areas: information and awareness actions on the heritage character of chestnut groves should be held. Its touristic value and its positive impact on landscape and biodiversity must be broadcast.

Axis 5: recognition of chestnut orchards in European policies

The chestnut orchards must continue to be taken into account by the two pillars (direct aid and rural development of the future common agricultural policy): The European Union's Structural Funds must also be implemented:

• The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) : to strengthen economic and social cohesion within the European Union by correcting regional imbalances. The territories on which most of the chestnut orchards are located are in areas with strong natural geographical handicaps (isolated countryside, mountains or sparsely populated regions).

• The European Social Fund (ESF) : for the support of projects for employment.

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World volumes in 2020

World production is located in two main geographical areas, Asia and the Mediterranean Europe supported by three species of chestnut:

• Castanea crenata in Japan

• Castanea mollissima in China

• Castanea sativa in Europe In Europe, Castanea sativa hybrid varieties with the other two species were created from 1950 onwards for their better resistance to diseases affecting European chestnut (PRR, attacking the roots). These varieties continue to be developped.

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World production increases slightly, according to the FAO: 2 200 00 tons in 2020

The main producing zones are:

• in Asia: China, North and South Korea and Japan,

• in the Mediterranean Europe: Turkey, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Spain and France,

• in other world regions: Australia, Chile, New Zeland and United States.

Please note the following points regarding the sources of the figures mentioned in this White book: We mainly have two sources of information on production volumes in the countries mentioned: on one side, the official one from the FAO and on the other side, those from Member States, regions and professionals. These two sources do not always match. To present the global statistics, we have kept the FAO data. With regards to country situations, we have used the information provided by the national representatives.

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Production in the different countries of the world 2011-17 (in tonnes)

World chestnut production 1994 2020

The world production, after a strong increase due to the rising Chinese production, has stabilised between 2,000,000 and 2,200,000 tonnes for the past three years

Source : Dr Engin Ertan / FAO

Production areas in 2022 (in hectares)

Source :Dr Engin Ertan / FAO

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NB: FAO statistics are the only official data available. Some of them are controversial. The country profiles that follow take into account the estimates from the professionals.

Production in Asia

Evolution of the Asian production

Production in Asia seems to have stabilised at around 1,800,000 tonnes, with a strong predominance of China.

Chine : the world leader

China is the world's largest producer, but its reported volumes are not always reliable. They seem to vary between 1,750,000 and 1,850,000 tonnes.

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European Chestnut
196 1 196 5 197 0 197 5 198 0 198 5 199 0 199 5 200 0 200 2 200 5 2008 2009 2010 CHINE 129, 0 135, 0 145, 0 142, 0 115, 0 83,1 115, 1 300, 0 598, 1 701, 6 931, 8 1031, 8 1145, 4 1620, 0 U.E. 388, 6 318, 5 304, 0 182, 4 146, 6 107, 8 117, 8 118, 7 130, 8 130, 4 116, 3 116,1 121,5 117,2 2012 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 CHINE 1947,0 2078,0 1890,0 1903,0 1939,0 1720,0 1730,0 1740,0 U.E. 108,3 104,2 117,3 118,6 123,9 140,9 141,0 149,1
Source Eurocastanea/FAO
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Chestnut production in China and Europe, in thousands of tonnes
Source : J L Bellat Source :KozoTodo,Kohchan Chestnut Farm

The country’s production indicators:

• Its production has quadrupled in 20 years,

• 1 9 million hectares of trees were planted in the last 20 years,

• National consumption absorbs 90% of its production,

• It is the world's largest producer, although production volumes are not always very clear:

o around 1 940 000 tons according to the FAO,

o around 1.800.000 to 2.200.000 tons according to the Chinese experts met during the Eurocastanea mission in May 2016.

The context

Less than 30 years ago, production took an economic turn, spurred on by the chinese government. It turned it into a fully fledged sector with industrialized production to satisfy the internal market.

The chestnut is naturally present in 26 Chinese provinces from Hainan to Jilin, (with a 23° latitude difference, and with an altitude ranging from 50m in Jiangsu to 2800m in Yunnan).

A sector supported and controlled by the government

The government has succeeded in setting up a chestnut sector in its own right by creating production and provoking consumption from scratch. The government controls the process: land concession, dissemination of information to farmers, provision of seedlings and processing equipment (farmers buy nothing, they only use), business orientation, regional experimentation centers. But according to some Chinese experts contacted, sales prices have been very low in recent years. As a result, producers invest little in new orchards. In addition, because of rising labour costs, young people are losing interest in this production in favour of working in cities.

Companies that invest in chestnuts

Companies create a large number of new products to satisfy a huge market that exceeds one billion consumers (individual consumption, nibbling)

Rising consumption, both traditional and modern

The consumption of chestnut is part of Chinese culture. It mixes family tradition and medicinal virtues. In China, it is advisable to eat seven chestnut a day because it treats the kidneys. Traditionally, the consumption of chestnut is seasonal, over two seasons (autumn + winter) with a peak at the time of major holidays. During these periods, the chestnut is consumed fresh and in a family way (marketing in bulk packaging): grilled, boiled, steamed, flour based products (mixed with wheat flour, corn, millet), consumed raw and as a vegetable.

Mostly grilled in very hot sand (for fruit cooking to be even), with sugar, it is sold on the street in autumn and winter. A large part of the harvest is mostly consumed locally (directly by peasant families) and so it does not enter the processing/distribution circuits. Thanks to the new processed products created by the industry, in spring and summer, stocks of chestnuts can be sold in different forms (with suitable packaging).

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Tree grower around Beijing

South Korea

South Korea is the second world producer with 82 300 tons in 2010 and 53 000 tons in 2017. In 2005, the AREFLH experts who visited the country reported 70.000 tons. Production seems to have stabilized now around 55 000 tons

The totality of the country’s chestnut tree orchards comes from the country's economic development programme started in the 1970’s. Large size fruits are exported mainly to Japan as fresh produce and more and more as processed products. As this market is strongly challenged by China, an export program to Europe has been launched since 2008.

Productive orchards in Korea are generally composed of hybrid chestnuts both Japanese and Chinese that are resistant to the gall wasp and other diseases. The chestnut is considered by the Koreans as a highly nutritious fruit, very important in case of famine. The chestnuts are eaten fresh or grilled in winter.

A new production of marrons glacés, as well as chestnut cakes is developing. Korea is a country almost entirely mountainous. It is noted that UAA is rare and valuable. The hyper dominant production in the flat lands is rice and the greenhouses are mostly present near the cities. Other productions are those of ginseng and peppers.

The non cultivable mountainous part of the country is wooded. The chestnuts are on the slopes but never in the valley. Because of its mountainous terrain and sloping orchards, Korea has little use of mechanization. In addition, pesticides have damaged the soil, changing its pH, becoming too acidic. Korean Forest Research promotes the use of organic pesticides. The biggest problem for producers are : • finding workforce,

• and reversing the aging trend of producers.

In the table below, of South Korea's main chestnut imports, it can be seen that they have increased by an average of 2.3% per year from 2007 to 2017.

Exports from South Korea in 2020 were 3,482 tonnes, compared to 6,841 tonnes in 2019. From 2017 to 2019 exports decreased by 50%.

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Source Selina Wamucii

Continuous decrease of the exportations

Source Selina Wamucii

Exports by country: first country, China, but decreasing, as well as the USA and Japan

Source Selina Wamucii

Prices are continuously falling due to competition

Source Selina Wamucii

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The analysis of production statistics and surfaces planted with chestnut trees in Japan shows that they are decreasing, from 20 200 ha in 2014 to 18 300 ha in 2018, mainly because of producers abandoning orchards. Since the 1970’s the younger generations are not interested anymore in this production.

Chestnut production between 1950 and 2018 in Japan

The chestnut is at the 88th place in the list of Japan’s agricultural products, for a turnover of 60 million euros in 2017. The country’s main production areas are:

• Ishizuchi

• Rihei

• Ginyose

• Tanzawa

• Tsukubala

The example of the Kusawa Kurien orchard

• Increased tree mortality due to global warming

• Typhoons are more frequent and violent

• Lack of labour and little mechanisation

• Declining profitability and lack of professional producers

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The decline of production volumes lead to an increase of prices.

The oldest recorded culture in Japan is that of Choukouji dating from 1590 in the Tonba District.

The gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphillus) appeared in 1941. In 1958, it is present in the whole country.

Castanea mollissima is sensible to D. kuryphillus and, at the time, hybridization programmes of Castanea crenata with C. molissima stopped. Only auto hybridizations of C. crenata were created to produce new varieties.

In 1979, Torymus sinensis was introduced and released by the NIFTS in 1981 and 1982.

The gall wasp is now under control, the attack cycle being known, every 5 to 7 years. In 1947 research concentrated on the caliber, then in 1952 a programme of varietal creation resulted in the creation of 6 varieties including a resistant one named Ishishu. A selection on chestnut skin was used for a variety called Porotan. Today the selection is on late varieties.


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is an interesting and profitable market for delicatessen products.

One of the threats to Japanese production is the decline in profitability due to competition from China and Korea

The challenges :

Production will continue to decline

Need to differentiate from Chinese and Korean products through high quality

Need to invest in harvesting mechanisation

Continuing the search for a Crenata compatible carrier

Further research on easy to peel varieties (hybrids)

European production in detail

Chestnut areas in Europe

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447 million inhabitants in the EU (27 countries 834 million inhabitants in Europe (46 countries) 1 kg of chestnut per inhabitant = 447,000 to 830,000 tonnes consumed

General data

The European production in 2020 (excluding Turkey) is between 150,000 and 160,000 tonnes. Production, which was still very high in European countries in the 19th century, fell sharply as a result of tree diseases, and collapsed from the 1960s onwards. The staple food of rural populations until then was replaced by potatoes and cereals.

Its decline follows the evolution of rural populations. Even if a part of the volumes produced is consumed locally, most of the volumes harvested are put on the market.

The chestnut is many eaten in two different ways :

• Consumption of the fresh fruits: this first mode of consumption is a niche and seems to be regressing.

• Processed product: fruits are peeled and processed before being eaten (chestnut flour, mashed chestnuts and creams, whole chestnuts (peeled or frozen), canned chestnuts, candied chestnuts, etc.).

Production location

The European chestnut production is located in medium altitude zones, from 200 to 1 000 meters, in areas with natural impediments, where no other agricultural production could replace it.

Chestnut production plays a decisive role in the economic, social and environmental balance of these territories. When the chestnut trees are abandoned the landscape becomes a wasteland, the consequence being the end of any possibility of economic development of these difficult soils.

Family economy

In the vast majority of cases, this production is based on a traditional family economy. The rural exodus in these difficult territories still leads today to the abandonment of the chestnut orchards

The types of orchards

Most of the chestnut groves are old and suffer from natural dieback due to the age of the trees, diseases, especially the disease Phytophthora root rot (PRR) (Phytophtora cinnanomi), and since 2002, the arrival of an insect native to China, the gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus), which can cause a decline in production up to 80%.

Restructuring programs for these chestnut trees by severe pruning have made it possible to maintain or even restore production in many European regions. Although, overall the trees and the production areas continue to decline.

Several European regions have developed programs for new chestnut orchards using:

• local varieties : this is particularly the case in the northern regions of Portugal, which has seen its national production increase significantly over the past 10 years.

• Hybrid varieties created in France by INRA since the 1960’s. The breeding program continues nowadays (collaboration between INRA, CTIFL and INVENIO). These varieties are called hybrids because they were created by crossing Castanea sativa (Europe), C. crenata (Japan) and C.mollissima (China). The objective is to obtain varieties more resistant to diseases. It will now be necessary to take into account their adaptation to climate change.

• A new orchard has been developed with the varieties Marigoule and Bouche de Bétizac, mainly in southwestern France and more recently in other European regions.

• The mechanisation (of the harvest in particular) and the technical itinerary are relatively well mastered. Currently cultivated varieties produce large fruit for the fresh market. New varieties are being developed (like Bellefer) to supply the processing industry.

• Planting new orchards from traditional varieties or new varieties is an important alternative to the fall of European production for the future of chestnuts.

A way to renew the existing orchards

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Research and experimentation programs are also under way in France to identify rootstocks that are tolerant to diseases and adapted to the conditions of production in dry regions. They will make it possible to develop the plantation of C. sativa or hybrid varieties. In particular, they aim to fill empty spaces left in old orchards due to tree mortality.

The gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus) : a major pest in Europe

Without any predators to control it, the gall wasp is probably the most important pest of of the chestnut tree Affected trees do not develop completely due to the deformations generated by the pest. Depending on the level of infestation, the gall wasps can cause:

• a loss of vigor of the tree,

• a 50 to 80% drop in fruit production

• mortality of affected twigs and branches, especially on dry years. The tree only dies if it is already affected by other diseases.

This small insect is native from China. In Europe, was first time discovered in Italy in 2002, it has dispersed to the other European countries: France (2005), Slovenia (2005), Hungary (2009), Switzerland (2009). The C. Sativa or hybrid varieties are all sensitive to the pest but their sensitivity varies depending on the variety.

All European countries are currently contaminated by the gall wasp and production is greatly affected. The only control method in the orchard is a biological one, where the parasitoid Torymus sinensis is released. Currently all the affected countries use this control plan Its implementation must be intensified and maintained because the gall wasp is still present or in strong progression depending on the area. Biological control is slow to produce its effects. It takes several years for the population of Torymus to be large enough to lower the number of gall wasp. A fall in production for a few years is inevitable in the affected regions. To offset this temporary drop in production and to avoid many orchards to be abandoned (a fact which accentuates the structural decline in European production), a specific support programme for producers is essential.

Gnomoniopsis castanea

For several years now, in certain areas there has been the development of certain fruit mushrooms, such as Gnomoniopsis Castanea in particular, which cause heavy losses for producers and commercial operators.

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Young chestnut tree affected by the gall wasp The plague on branches

Evolution of the European production

Table of the evolution of the production of the main European chestnut producing countries (in thousands of tons).

Source J.L Bellat

1961 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2002 2005 2010 2012 2015 2016 2017 France 71,2 82,4 47,6 39,2 24,4 14,2 13,5 11,0 13,2 11,2 8,1 9,5 8,6 7,7 7,8 8,1 Greece 12,6 14,6 17,4 16,2 14,3 10,3 10,8 12,5 13,2 12,4 12,3 11,0 11,7 12,5 12,0 12,0 Italy 123,8 86,5 66,4 69,3 63,4 38,8 49,5 71,9 50,0 54,3 52,0 42,7 34,1 25,0 30,0 45,0 Portugal 82,0 47,0 41,6 32,7 20,2 17,0 20,4 23,2 33,3 31,4 22,3 22,4 28,3 39,4 32,0 34,0 Spain 99,0 88,0 81,0 25,0 24,3 27,5 23,6 20,1 19,2 19,3 18,6 18,6 18,3 28,9 28,0 30,0 Turkey 38,4 33,0 48,0 47,0 58,5 59,0 80,0 77,0 50,0 47,0 50,0 59,1 58,0 56,1 55,0 56,0

EU 388,6 318,5 304,0 182,4 146,6 107,8 117,8 138,7 128,9 128,6 113,3 108,1 101,0 116,6 140,0 155,0 Europe 427,0 351,5 352,0 229,4 205,1 166,8 197,8 215,7 178,9 175,6 163,3 163,4 159,0 175,7 03,0 212,0

Sources for table and graph: European Commission (1961 2015) and AREFLH

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2018 2019 2020

France 8,7 7,3 8,9 Greece 25 19 24

Italy 36,3 36,3 36,4

Portugal 34,2 41,3 42,2 Spain 36,7 37,1 38,1 Turkey 63,6 72,7 76,1

EU 140 141 149,1 Europe 204,4 213,7 225

Evolution of European production in thousands of tonnes

Two countries are increasing production: Portugal and Greece, but also Austria which is developing its production. The other countries are in the process of recovering a small increase in production: France, Spain and Italy

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Production in Italy

The main italian production areas are Campania (9 517 ha for 3 500 farms), Tuscany (5 675 ha for 2 270 farms), Calabria (7 608 ha for 2 484 farms), Piedmont (7 518 ha for 4 289 farms) Latium (1 007 ha for 2 407 farms) and Emilia Romagna (5 662 ha for 1 491 farms).

Production fell sharply due to attacks by the gall wasp in 2015/2018. It is gradually recovering its production potential.

Evolution of the italian production 2001-2022

The chestnut plots are small and of medium siz. 40% of the area of the Italian chestnut grove is included in the UAA class 0 5 hectares, while the average area planted is about 1 hectare. It should be noted that some statistical data show very large areas but that only part of them is actually cultivated. These smaller chestnuts, produced by the ungrafted forest chestnut grove, are used for dehydrated products and flour.

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Chestnut production in Italy between 2019 and 2018 (tons). Production (tons)

Years Source : Turin Uni. Source : FAO 2013 31 000 52 948 2014 34 000 49 054 2015 39 000 48 705 2016 42 000 50 889 2017 45 000 50 399 2018 45 000 (estimation)

Source FAO

Since 2009, production has drastically dropped due to health problems caused by heavy attacks of the gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus). This brought Italian production to its lowest level ever, in 2014. Today's production is recovering significantly, particularly in northern Italy, thanks to the positive results achieved by fighting the gall wasp, with biological control that uses the parasitoids Torymus sinensis

Production in 2017 has been estimated by professional experts at around 30 000 tons. For that year of strong fluctuations, professional and institutional data differ.

The italian chestnut production is organised and suported by Local Action Groups, their quality signs led to the creation of 9 PGIs and 5 DOPs.

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Number and area of farms with chestnut groves in Italy

Table of quality signs (PGI, DOP, etc.) production, processing and operators- 2016


Productions Processing Operation (nber) Producers (nº) Area (ha) Companies (1) (2) Total Producers/proc essors (nº)

Castagna del Monte Amiata PGI 82 208 4 2 84

Castagna di Cuneo PGI 23 80 5 5 28

Castagna di Montella PGI 26 96 7 3 29

Castagna di Vallerano DOP 22 37 2 1 23

Marrone del Mugello PGI 117 663 4 3 118 2

Marrone della Valle di Susa PGI 28 16 9 2 28 2

Marrone di Caprese Michelangelo DOP

Marrone di Castel del Rio PGI 29 183 8 5 33 1

Marrone di Combai PGI 52 39 7 54 102 4

Marrone di Monfenera PGI 79 89 7 2 81

Marrone di Rocca d'Aspide PGI 17 79 6 6 20 3

Marrone di San Zeno DOP 28 49 3 1 29

Farina di castagne della Lunigiana DOP 8 31 8 2 9 1

Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana DOP 5 16 9 3 7 1

Miele della Lunigiana DOP 35 9 37 7

Miele delle Dolomiti Bellunesi DOP 8 9 9 8

Source ISTAT

Chestnut production by region, in


Les échanges : le commerce extérieur


The trade balance is still in deficit due to the drop in production (gall wasp)

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The main countries exporting chestnuts to Italy

Imports to Italy by country

Production in Portugal

Source of the following informations : RefCast Associação Portuguesa da Castanha/Jose Gomes Laranjo

The production of Portuguese chestnuts is more than 34 000 tons for a total surface of almost 39 000 ha (according to the Portuguese Institute of Statistics). The average price is growing, reaching 2.78 €/kg in 2018.

Portuguese production 2012-2018 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Superficie (Ha) 34.810 35.170 35.350 35.600 35.720 36.760 38.870 Rendement (T/Ha) 0,66 0,85 0,63 0,93 0,90 0,81 0,88

Production (T) 22.870 29.810 22.230 33.210 32.080 29.880 34.160

Prix (€/kg) 1,64 1,74 2,16 1,5 1,791 2,07 2,78

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The main production areas are organised around 4 Protected Designations of Origin, which are located in Alto Douro, Trás os Montes, Beira interior and Alentejo regions in high altitude areas, between 600 m and 1 200 m. Today, orchards are beginning to be established on the fertile land of Minho, at sea level.

The surfaces, having greatly diminished because of Phytophtora Root Rot, are now being replanted (10 000 ha planted from the beginning of the XXI century) and the fruit production is more and more important. However, it does not meet the demand.

In these mountain farming regions, the chesnut has a vital environmental and social role as it maintains marginal agro systems and it participates in the maintenance and conservation of the landscape heritage.

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Portugal is a very important exporter of chestnuts. The volume has increased in recent years because of the problems encountered in other European countries with the gall wasp. In 2014 Portugal exported almost 20 000 t, for almost 60 M €. On the contrary, imports are around 1 500 t, for a value of 3.7 million euros.

Source : REFCAST

Portugal – Trade of chestnut (2012 – 2017)

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Export (t) 13 820 18 992 19 459 18 186 18 041 13 757 Export (M€) 33 5 53 5 57 2 41 2 40 6 38 8 Export s(€/kg) 2 42 2 81 2 94 2 27 2 25 2 82

Import (t) 3 129 3 483 2 866 1 832 1 766 1 500 Import (M€) 6 7 8 4 7 2 3 6 3 1 3 7 Import (€/kg) 2 14 2 42 2 51 1 98 1 73 2 44


Source : REFCAST

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In order to promote the organisation and support of the sector, an association has been organised: the Portuguese Chestnut Association (

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Production in Spain

Sources of the informatin for this section : Red Estatal del Catano

The Spanish production of chestnut, after having fallen sharply, has now been on the upswing for a few years. This is both due to an active renewal and planting policy in the regions of Galicia and Castilla y León, and to a positive evolution of average yields that can reach 1 5 to 3 tons per ha The main production areas are Galicia and Castilla y León, Andalusia and Extremadura. There are also forest chestnuts in Asturias, Catalunha and Bizkaia but their production is not significant. In total, more than 270 000 ha are devoted to the chestnut (wood and fruit),

Source : Red Estatal de la Castaña

Source : Red Estatal de la Castaña

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Production in France

The production decreased from 75 000 tons in 1961 to 12 000 tons in 2010, and 8 000 tons in 2017 (for a 2017 surface of 10 000 ha).

French production is around 8 000 tons. It is mainly fresh consumed or exported. French manufacturers most often import peeled and frozen products from Italy, Spain or Portugal. The manufacture of chestnut cream and canned chestnuts thus absorbs a significant share of imports. The latter reached 6 700 tons (with their husk) and 2 000 tons of husked product (excluding frozen product), on average, between 2016 and 2019

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A significant part of the product being processed (canned whole chestnuts, cream of chestnuts, candied chestnuts), it is difficult to estimate the consumption. The total consumption (fresh fruits and processed ones) is probably around 300 g per person per year.

Source RMN France

Source RMN France

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Production is provided by two types of orchards with their own characteristics:

• An old orchard called "traditional". It is the type orchard most encountered in France, as regards both surface and volume. It consists of dozens of varieties of the European species Castanea sativa It comes from orchards that often are several hundred of years old. Mainly found in mountainous areas, zones with strong natural handicaps. This type of orchard plays a leading role in the balance of farming systems in less favored areas. Chestnut is often the only way to grow anything on the slopes where it is found.

• A recent orchard with hybrid or traditional varieties. Hybrid varieties are usually derived from intentional crosses between European Castanea sativa and Japanese (Castanea crenata) or Chinese (Castanea mollissima) species.

There is the fruit orchard and the forest orchard, the latter is very important in terms of surface. The fruit orchard consists of well maintained areas, planted with selected chestnut trees for the production of fruit and derived mainly from grafted varieties and some « direct » varieties.

The forest type of chestnut orchards has an estimated surface of 1 million hectares, or 50% of the European surface. It is the 3rd French forest species after oaks and ash trees. The French chestnut

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forest is largely derived from old orchards, some of which were cut in the twentieth century, especially for the exploitation of tannin.

The gall wasp was first encountered in France in 2007 in the Alpes Maritimes and then from 2012 the whole country was contaminated. The organisation of biological control was coordinated from 2010 with the creation of a national steering committee under the influence of the national union of French chestnuts producers (the SNPC in French).

Table of the French production 2017 2021

Source Agreste Ministère de l‘Agriculture

Source RMN FranceLes principaux départements producteurs 2016

The main producing departments in 2016

Source : RMN

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The different uses of chestnut in France

• Consumption as fresh fruit

The quantities offered for sale on the French market are estimated at around 5 000 tons, consumed in autumn, especially in October and November, where nearly two thirds of sales are made. In general the size of the French chestnut do not exceed 60 fruits per kilogram. Healthy large size early fruits are best valued.


The French sector needs more and more imports of peeled and frozen products from producing countries (such as Portugal for example).

o Canned fruits (35% of the production): whole chestnuts, canned in France from imported products. This type of processing requires fruit that are not partitioned, that can easily be mechanically peeled, between 85/105 fruits per kilo, with a firm flesh that does not disintegrate after canning

o Jams/creams/purée (55% of the production): they are made from chestnuts of small sizes (> 100 fruits per kg). The French origin, without specifying the name of the variety, is still poorly valued.

o Confectionery (10% of the production): candied chestnuts, and chestnuts with alcohol require non partitioned fruits, which can easily be peeled, with a size ranging from 40 to 55 fruits per kilo, with a flesh that remains firm while being soft and not breaking after successive baths in the sugar syrup. Part of theses candied chestnut are made in France from Italian peeled and frozen chestnuts, the rest of the chestnut confectionery consumed in the France is directly imported from Italy as finished products.

o Dry uses (flour for example): this type of product is under development. In a region like Corsica, it is even one of the main uses.

French imports and exports

Unsurprisingly, France's top suppliers are Spain, Italy and Portugal, while their most important customer is Germany

France’s fresh chestnut imports (2014 2016)

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Quality signs

Two DOP, for Corsica and Ardèche, now exist. Then a « Châtaigne des Cévennes » DOP and Périgord PGI are currently are being prepared (2019)

The certification Red Label "Marron" was obtained in 2016 for large size fruits.

Production in Greece

From 1960 to 2010, chestnut cultivation in Greece has been on a downward trend due to :

• Chestnut blight, discovered in Greece in 1963,

• Abandonment of mountain villages due to migration, and

• Lack of appropriate policies

National chestnut production from 1960 to 2010 varied from 13,000 to 19,000 tonnes. In 2009, Greece completed the national to introduce hypovirulence in 29 counties where chestnut grows.

As a result, after 2010 and over the last decade, the production increased to 39,000 tonnes (FAOStat data) with an upward trend.

Greece has the capacity and can easily increase its annual chestnut production to 50,000 tonnes if poor growing techniques and national policies change.

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France’s fresh chestnut exports (2014-2016) Sources : Association of Imathia’s Agricultural Cooperatives/ Stephanos Diamandis Chestnut Tsoureki

The rational orchardl

The quality of Greek chestnuts is excellent. The Volos clone chestnuts are sweet, tasty and relatively easy to peel. Unfortunately, they are not resistant to ink disease or cynips. In addition, the Volos clone is not certified and therefore chestnut growers must rely on the honesty and expertise of nurserymen when purchasing planting material.

Cultivation follows traditional methods which are not always the best. Growers tend to irrigate often, which increases the risk of ink disease. Although Greek growers started treating diseased trees with potassium phosphite in 2018, ink disease remains the main drawback of chestnut cultivation

The cypher entered Greece in 2014 and is spreading rapidly. A national project was launched in 2018 for the release of Torymus sinencis. Producers hope that control will prevent a significant decline in national production.

Climate change is also being felt in the Mediterranean area. The traditionally dry months of June and July are experiencing rain and heavy storms.

Brown rot is the new problem we are facing. It started around 2015 in some areas and is spreading rapidly and getting worse. At the moment chestnut trees are sprayed twice, in May and June, against anthracnose with Signum which is proving to have quite good results in reducing brown rot losses. Another important point for increasing annual production is the replacement of old trees with young ones and more productive varieties. About half of the orchard tree population is over 100 years old. Encouraging and sustainable policies are needed to implement a 20 year project to renew old orchards. So far, the Greek Ministries of Environment and Agriculture are rather indifferent, but producers are determined to insist on this need.

The Greek market has had a deficit of chestnuts. For years, Greece has imported raw nuts from Turkey and Portugal and processed chestnuts from Italy and France.

Since 2012, the Italian market has started to absorb Greek chestnuts. In one fell swoop, Greece became an exporting country. Producer prices have risen and this euphoria has encouraged young farmers to set up new orchards.

The new objective is to start processing chestnuts, which is currently minimal in Greece.

Greece imports low quality chestnuts from China and South Korea. They appear on the market in December at extremely low prices in competition with the local Volos and Cretan varieties.

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As a European network, Eurocastanea must work to protect chestnut producers from Asian imports that do not offer better quality nuts but only impress with low prices.

The chestnut industry is relatively small in Greece. Family businesses offer products such as syrup, chestnuts purée, and creams. A new processing unit is expected to start in 2020 in Arcadia and Peloponese.

Table of Greek chestnut production


Producers (nº)

Farms (nº) Area (ha)

East Macedonia 72 77 15 8 Central Macedonia 325 433 154 5

Western Macedonia 462 409 156.1

Ipirus 80 106 84 1

Thessaly 930 1 880 697 3

Ionian islands 120 178 107 7 Western Greece 188 273 167.7

Sterea Ellada 302 424 160 3

Peloponnesus 967 2 752 1275 1 Northern Eegean 113 211 116 8 Southern Eegean 1 1 0.25 Crete 377 1009 286 9

Total 3 937 7 753 3 054 8

Source : Greek Ministry of Agriculture

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Production in Turkey

Source : Izmir Chamber of Commerce / Turkey Statistic Institute (TSI)

Turkish production is estimated in 2018 at 63 580 tons.

In the Aegean and Marmara regions, grafted cultivars for large size chestnuts are preferred.

In the Black Sea region, farmers harvest forest chestnut that are smaller but easy to peel.

Turkey has traditional chestnut orchards, with an altitude between 400 and 1200 m). The main production areas are located in the Izmir and Odemis regions in the west, with 70% of the volumes (35 000 tons), as well as in the Bursa region, south of Istanbul, with 20% of the volumes (15 000 tons) and finally 6 000 to 10 000 tons in the northeastern region of the Black Sea.

After having the peak productions at 90 000 tons in 1970, the quantities are declining. Tree dieback is reported by experts, particularly in the Bursa region (PRR disease).

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Source Ervin Edan Chestnut producing regions in Turkey

Répartition par région de production : Aydin et Izmir en tête ( 60%)

Source : Ervin Edan

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Plantations have decreased steadily since 1961 from 48,000 to 39,000 ha. The yield per hectare also decreased from 2 tonnes/ha to 1.7 tonnes/ha. The main cause of this decrease is considered to be disease related (Phytophthora and Cryphonectria parisitica)

Evolution of Turkish chestnut consumption

Source : FAO 2018

Exports and imports

Turkey exports its production mainly as a fresh fruit for Europe: to Italy, France, Germany (thanks to its strong Turkish community), but also to Lebanon, Israel and the Arab countries of the Middle East. Exports in 2018 reached 9 886 tons It is thought that future exports will dicrease a little. Exports : evolution quantities and values ( FAO 2018)

Exports : variation between 1961 and 2015 (FAO 2018)

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1 9 6

Figure 6 Turkey’ s chestnut export quantity and value (FAO, 2018)

Imports : variation between 1961 and 2015 (FAO 2018)

Figure 7 Turkey’ s chestnut import quantity and value (FAO, 2018)


Production in Austria

Sources : Johannes Schantl / ARGE Zukunft Edelkastanie

practices and organic agriculture (MFAL, 2017) Government policy is focused on funding research through public institutions such as the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock, Turkish Scientific Research Institution, universities, etc.

The chestnut has a strong historical significance in southern Austria. In the past, tree fruits in forests, especially at the edge of the woods, were collected and used for roasting and were consumed with the fermenting young wine (called storm). There is no data on harvest volume. According to some information and a survey of the association ARGE Zukunft Edelkastanie, it is known that some farms sold more than 1000 kg of chestnut per year. Extrapolated from this information, the amount harvested in southern Styria was about 100 tons per year. In some areas of southern Styria, chestnuts also play an important role in the production of wood. In Austria, the chestnut is the third most important deciduous tree (with falling leaves) after beeches and oaks.


Chestnut forest tree in Styria (% of woodstock)

In recent years, forest fruit picking has reduced the loss of old trees due to chestnut blight. On the other hand, the production of chestnuts planted in orchards has become more and more interesting. In fact, the Austrian Agricultural Markets Organization (AMA) has registered 111 hectares of chestnut orchards planted in the last 20 years. Most of them are located in Styria (92 ha), others in Lower Austria, Carinthia and Burgenland.

Virtually the entire crop (so far without a formal statistical survey) is for the fresh market. There is a local organisation in Burgenland that processes 4 to 6 tonnes of chestnut cream per year. Currently, the country’s production covers only a small part of the demand. Nevertheless, chestnut is an interesting fruit to plant in large areas of meadows and is an extra production for fruit producers. The following organisations are trying to develop the attractiveness of the chestnut:

In Styria:

• College of fruit and viticulture Silberberg (

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100 200
1 9 6 1 1 9 6 3 1 9 6 5 1 9 6 7 1 9 6 9 1 9 7 1 1 9 7
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In Turkey, chestnut domestic markets prices are determined based on the mutual interaction between supply and demand factors; therefore, there has not been any government intervention, even though farmers could benefit promoting good agricultural 1
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9 9 7 1 9 9 9 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 2 0 0 5 2 0 0 7 2 0 0 9 2 0 1 1 2 0 1 3 2 0 1 5 Import quantity (t) Import value (1000 US$)

• ARGE Zukunft Edelkastanie (

In Burgenland:

• Verein D'Kaestnklauba (

• Dans Carinthia:

• Interessengemeinschaft Edelkastanie Oberes Drautal (

Production in Slovenia

Chestnut production in Slovenia was 240 tonnes in 2019 and is expected to change by an average of 73.91%. The country had approximately 120.00 hectares under chestnut cultivation.

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10 year chestnut grove in St. Johann, South West of Styria New orchard in Gnas, East Styria

Export quantities of chestnuts from Slovenia

The quantity of chestnuts shipped by Slovenia in 2020 was 877 tonnes. In 2019, Slovenia exported 63 tonnes of chestnuts. In 2019 alone, the demand for Slovenian chestnuts (nut category) jumped, with a 50% change compared to 2018. Between 2017 and 2019, chestnut exports fell by 40%, earning Slovenia US$ 0.24 million in 2019.

Value of chestnut exports from Slovenia

In 2019, Slovenia exported chestnuts worth USD 0.24 million, an increase of 79.10% compared to the total chestnut exports of 2018 of USD 0.134 million. The annual growth in the value of chestnuts from Slovenia between 2017 and 2018 was 61.932%.

The annual change in the amount of Slovenian chestnut exports between 2017 and 2019 was 40pc compared to a 50% change over the period between 2018 and 2019.

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Production in Albania

Chestnut production is largely based on existing de facto organic forestry. Parts of the production areas have been certified organic, which has a clear potential for export. Chestnuts are mainly exported in organic form to the processing industry.

Chestnut production and productivity are hampered by the large number of old trees and diseases. However, production has increased slightly over the years (Table 1).

The growing trend of chestnut production in Albania has been slower than the global trend (which has been characterised by strong growth).

In terms of regional distribution, the Kukes region is the main chestnut production area. A large mass of 2000 ha is located in Tropoja (in the Kukes region).

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The Shkodra region, and respectively Malësia and Madhe, is also an important area for chestnut production, with a comparative advantage on the quality of the Reçi varieties, a village in the Shkrel municipality (including the "Puka" genotypes). Thanks to the high quality, about 50% of the production is exported mainly to Italy.

Imports of peeled chestnuts are generally low, despite growth in recent years.

Chestnut exports have increased considerably over the last year (as shown below, almost all exports are to Italy, absorbed by the processing industry).

Chestnut exports by country

Production in Poland

The amount of chestnuts exported by Poland in 2020 was 450 metric tons. In 2019, Poland shipped 669 metric tons of chestnuts. In 2019 alone, the market for chestnuts from Poland (nut category) increased, changing by 48.998pc compared to 2018. Between 2017 and 2019, chestnut exports increased by 37.37pc, earning Poland $0.89m in 2019.

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Production in Hungary

According to official statistics, there are about 467 ha of chestnut orchards in Hungary. The site conditions for chestnut trees in Hungary are limited because the Hungarian soils have too high a limestone content and their pH is therefore high. Hungarian growers mainly use Hungarian breed cultivars, the most planted cultivar is 'Koszegszerdahelyi 29' followed by 'Iharosberényi 2' and 'Iharosberényi 29'. The use of foreign breed cultivars is increasing because Hungarian growers prefer early maturing cultivars with large fruits.

Production in Germany

The quantity of chestnuts sold by Germany in 2020 was 425 metric tons. In 2019, Germany sold 632 metric tons of chestnuts. In 2019 alone, the demand for chestnuts from Germany (nut category) increased, fluctuating by 30.579% compared to 2018. Between 2017 and 2019, chestnut exports increased by 19.02%, earning the country $5.52 million for the year 2019.

Production in Croatia

The volume of chestnuts exported by Croatia in 2020 was 105 tonnes. In 2019, Croatia sold 22 tonnes of chestnuts. In 2019 alone, the market for Croatian chestnuts (nut category) decreased, registering a 50% change compared to 2018. Between 2017 and 2019, chestnut exports increased by 46.67%, earning Croatia USD 0.04 million in 2019.

Emerging producing countries

The productions of the following countries are not yet reported by the FAO, however, thanks to exchanges between chestnut professionnals from around the world, we are aware of smaller productions in regions seldom talked about


Source : Australian Chestnuts

The 2017 fresh chestnuts production was 1 200 tons, available from mid March to July. The main region is Victoria in the south east of the country with Italian varieties and French hybrids

Both fresh and transformed products are marketed nationwide.

The varieties :

• Buffalo Queen

• Bouche de Betizac

• Red Spanish

• De Coppi Marone

• Purtons Pride

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Intensive orcharding in the Victoria region

The Australian chestnut industry is fairly static, with production increasing only slowly. The 2022 crop is estimated to be around 1,300 tonnes. Chestnuts are mainly grown in north east Victoria with some smaller pockets around Tumbarumba in New South Wales, Adelaide Hill in South Australia and in southern Western Australia.

There is little or no export or processing of Australian chestnuts, so 99% is sold as fresh chestnuts and most of the crop is sold in Melbourne and Sydney. A number of large growers successfully store chestnuts and the season has been extended in recent years and now fresh chestnuts are sold from mid March to September each year.

The main problem limiting the development of the chestnut industry in Australia is that demand is static or even declining. Many consumers are unfamiliar with chestnuts and reluctant to try them. The majority of consumers are immigrants from Asia and Europe. Younger consumers have a wide variety of food choices and show little interest in chestnuts, particularly fresh fruit which can be time consuming to prepare.

Many consumers will see fresh chestnuts in the shops but do not know how to cook them. The association undertakes an annual marketing programme to try to educate consumers but its impact is limited.

However, the main problem facing the chestnut industry here is the incidence of internal rots, particularly in the early harvested varieties. If rotted chestnuts are among the first to reach the market, some wholesalers (and many other consumers) stop buying chestnuts for the whole season. Consumer confidence is absolutely

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crucial and once it is lost it is difficult to regain. The association is trying to undertake further research on the issue, but so far no satisfactory solution has been found.

Chestnut canker was discovered in 2010 and an eradication programme was developed. However, isolated infected trees are still found. The disease has not spread widely, so there is still an ongoing programme with growers.



Chestnut production in Chile is small.

There is a traditional production of seedling chestnuts from ungrafted trees that have been planted for ornamental reasons rather than for productive purposes. This production comes from isolated trees, planted next to the houses. For this reason, there are no reliable statistics on surfaces because the institution carrying out this work considers only orchards of more than ½ hectare.

But, officially, the area planted with traditional chestnut trees is 305 hectares with 353 producers. This is not consistent with the marketed production, which exceeds 2,800 tonnes, to which must be added a large quantity for self consumption.)

Officially, the area planted with chestnut trees is still 1,800 hectares

About 50% of the marketed production is exported to Europe.

The largest volume exported in 2014 and 2015 is due to the decline in European production during this period. The 2018 export includes about 400 tons of chestnuts from new plantations.

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New productions

Since 2010 began a planting plan of intensive orchards in high density (286 trees/hectare) with Italina varieties of Italian chestnuts. These are orchards of large individual surface (30 to 150 hectares), with good agronomic and commercial management.

In 2019, 1 500 hectares of intensive orchards from 1 to 8 years old were identified. They produced 800 tonnes of chestnuts in April 2019 and are expected to produce 5 000 tons in a few years.

The planted varieties are of European origin: Marrone Cuneo, Marrone di Castello Borello, Brown Morado, Brown Negro, Marrone di Citta di Castello, Marrone di Val di Susa, Marrone di Marradi, Marrone di Chiusa Pesio, Red Mouth, Precoce Migoule.

Chile is the only country in South America that develops chestnuts.

Exports are also continuously increasing and prices rise too.

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The United States

Source : USDA

The USA chestnut production represents 1% of world production. In 2018, 919 farms produced chestnut for 3700 acres (1 acre = 4046.85 m2)

The main producing states are Michigan, Florida, California, Oregon and Virginia.

Production is 3 200 tons.

Wholesale prices are between $0.73 and $2.50 per kg, and at retail level, between $2.00 and $5.00, depending on the fresh or peeled markets.

In the USA there is a fairly wide range of possible markets: farmers' markets, specialty stores, ready to use products, vegetarians, ethical markets, restaurant suppliers, seasonal product processors, agri tourism and field picking .

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Source : Valderrama/Halgartegaray

Image copyright © Michigan State University cultivars

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European trade

Imports to the EU

European trade has changed somewhat in the last 15 years, since the arrival in Italy in 2002 of the Chinese parasite the gall wasp micro hymenopteran Dryocosmus kuriphilus. This situation has upset Italian production and trade flows between European countries but also imports from non EU countries.

European countries imported 16,365 tonnes of chestnuts from outside the EU in 2020, representing a value of 31.37 million euros, whereas only 7,300 tonnes were imported in 2001 for a value of 10.05 million euros.

Italy imports a relatively large proportion of chestnuts, around 9,586 tonnes, from Turkey for the large fruit for the fresh market, but also from Albania, the Balkan countries and Chile for the processing industry. Imports from China have fallen sharply in recent years because this product is not well accepted in Europe.

Other European countries are importing volumes from outside the EU in 2020, such as the Netherlands (1690 T), a port of entry for the Northern European markets, and Spain (623 T) and France (534 T) from Chile, which were previously partly purchased in Europe for industrial needs (chestnut cream, peeled chestnut industry) because the European volumes produced are insufficient.

Les pays d’Europe échangent entre eux environs 50 000 tonnes, soit le tiers de la production européenne.

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Photo above: Gert Jan Kole Sources for this chapter : JL Bellat and Eurostat

Trade between European countries increased during the Cynips crisis as a result of higher demand from the heavily impacted countries but is now back to the level of the 2000s. However, imports have become greater than exports.

Trade within EU countries

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Source Eurostat, graphique par JL Bellat Source JL Bellat

Volumes des Importations hors UE données 2020

Slovénie; 621 T; 4% Suède; 41 T; 0%

Portugal; 508 T; 3% Roumanie; 195 T; 1%

Pays Bas; 1 690 T; 10%

Allemagne; 191 T; 1% Autriche; 415 T; 3% Belgique ; 175 T; 1% Bulgarie; 46 T; 0% Chypre; 101 T; 1% Danemark; 10 T; 0% Espagne; 623 T; 4% France; 534 T; 3% Grèce; 285 T; 2% Hongrie; 1 302 T; 8%

Italie; 9 586 T; 59%

TOTAL : 16 365 Tonnes


Pays Bas; 2 336; 7% Portugal; 761; 2% Roumanie; 327; 1% Slovénie; 747; 2% Suède; 112 K€; 0%

des Importations hors UE - données 2020

Allemagne; 607; 2% Autriche; 1 242; 4% Belgique; 730; 2% Bulgarie; 84; 0% Chypre; 110; 0% Danemark; 28; 0% Espagne; 977; 3% France; 828; 3%

Grèce; 303; 1% Hongrie; 1 412; 5%

Italie; 20 693 k€; 66%

TOTAL : 31,37 millions d'euros 59
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Graphique JL BELLAT Graphique JL BELLAT

While in the years 2000 2010, European exports outside Europe were higher than imports, this trend has been reversed creating a trade balance deficit of €3.15 million in 2021.

Balance IMPORT - EXPORT pays hors UE (en tonnes)

EU’s exports

European exports to non EU countries have fallen over the last 5 years, 9,320 tonnes in 2020 for a value of 40.8 million euros. Italy provides the largest volume with 5,978 tonnes for 30.09 million euros against 8,685 tonnes in 2001 (26.4 million euros). Exports are made to the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Brazil, the Arab Emirates and the Middle East, but also to Asia, Japan and Taiwan.

Trade within

Portugal; 1 097 T; 12% Autres UE; 473 T; 5%

Autriche; 3 T; 0% Espagne; 548 T; 6% France; 617 T; 7% Grèce; 604 T; 6% Italie; 5 978 T; 64%

Volumes des Exportations hors UE - données 2020 TOTAL : 9320 Tonnes

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EU countries 8884 7150 6585 457 12843 11007 7737 -15000 -10000 -5000 0 5000 10000

Valeurs des Exportations hors UE - données 2020

Autres UE; 912 K€; 2%

Portugal; 3 962 K€; 10%

Italie; 30 098 K€; 74%

Autriche; 12 K€; 0% Espagne; 2 214 K€; 5%France; 2 685 K€; 7%

Grèce; 921 K€; 2%

TOTAL : 40,80 millions euros

Within the EU, the European countries exchange volumes of around 50,000 T with each other for a value of 190 million euros. Italian imports (15,150 T) are the most important of the European countries and are mainly with Spain (4,521 T), Greece (4,027 T) and Portugal (3,895 T). In second place among importers, France also imports 10,500 T from Spain (4,790 T), Portugal (3,800 T) and Italy (2,900 T) but also from outside the EU (312 T).

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Chestnut trade outside the EU (in tonnes)

From 2012, reversal of trade: imports started to exceed exports due to unsatisfied consumer demand.

Source JL Bellat

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Over the last decade, European countries have been importing more and more (16,296 tonnes +173%) and exporting less (8,559 tonnes down 37%). The balance of trade is heavily in deficit: 7,737 tonnes in 2021.


Italy is the leading importer in Europe in order to meet the high demand of its market. The volumes imported come mainly from other European countries (61.2%), Spain, Greece and Portugal with 15,151 tonnes in 2020

importé par l'Italie sur période 2007 - 2021 en tonnes

Graphique JL BELLAT

However, Italy has imported 6 times more in recent years from countries outside Europe, 9,586 tonnes in 2020 compared to 1,582 tonnes in 2010, in particular from Turkey (8,630 tonnes) in 2018 for the fresh market, but also from Chile and the Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Serbia for its industry. Italy is also Europe's leading exporter with a volume of 5978 tonnes to non EU countries (5978 T) in 2020 for a value of 30.1 million euros, giving it a surplus of 9.41 million euros.

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International trade of EU’s chestnuts.
6 047 7 332 6 080 6 810 9030 18 342 32 434 39 954 32 053 38 325 21 864 36 641 20 722 24 735 22 538 0 10 000 20 000 30 000 40 000 50 000

Italie Volumes Exportations vers Pays Européens 11 326 Tonnes - données 2020

Roumanie; 95 T; 1%

République Tchèque ; 36 T; 0%

Portugal; 164 T; 2%

Hongrie; 74 T; 1%

Grèce; 8 T; 0%

France; 4 456 T; 39%

Espagne; 368 T; 3%

Slovaquie; 78 T; 1% Slovenie; 327 T; 3% autres UE ; 39 T; 0%

Allemagne; 3 415 T; 30%

Autriche; 2 024 T; 18%

Belgique; 50 T; 0% Croatie; 192 T; 2%

Italie - Volumes Exportations UK : 396 Tonnes, hors UE : 5 978 Tonnes - données 2020 Graphique JL BELLAT

Italie Volumes Importations Pays Européens 15 151 Tonnes - Données 2020

Allemagne; 245 T; 2%

autres U.E ; 330 T; 2%

Slovenie; 481 T; 3%

Portugal; 3 895 T; 26%

Autriche; 189 T; 1% Bulgarie; 858 T; 6% Espagne; 4 521 T; 30% France; 341 T; 2% Grèce; 4027 T; 26% Hongrie; 93 T; 1%

Chypre; 171 T; 1%

Italie - Volumes importation Pays hors UE (Turquie, Chili) : 9 586 Tonnes - données Graphique JL BELLAT

Chestnut White Paper, by


Portugal exports a large part of its production.

• 30 to 35% exported, i.e. 9,300 tonnes of fresh chestnuts

• The largest sizes are exported fresh to Brazil (1,000 t), but also to Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

• Traditionally Portugal (together with Spain) supplies fresh berries to the processing industries in France and Italy.

• Primary processing plants have been developed since the 1990s. Medium sized fruits undergo a first processing phase in Portugal: peeled and frozen. They will be exported to other European countries for the chestnut processing industry.

• Fruits of lesser quality are exported to manufacturers of chestnut cream and purée (in France and Italy).

• 50 to 60% is exported, i.e. 25 000 tonnes

• Big size fruits are exported to Brazil (2 000 t), Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

• Traditionally Portugal (and Spain) supplies the medium/small fruits to the processing industries of France and Italy.

• Primary processing industries have been instaled since the 1990’s. The small and medium size fruit are carried to the first transformation phase: peeled and frozen fruits. They are then exported to other European countries.

Portugal - Volumes Exportations vers pays Européens

260 Tonnes données 2020

Luxembourg; 104 T; 1% autres UE ; 17 T; 0%

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Allemagne; 125 T; 2% Autriche; 44 T; 1% Belgique; 17 T; 0% Espagne; 2 793 T; 34% France; 1 129 T; 14% Portugal - Volumes Exportations UK : 38 Tonnes, hors UE : 1097 TonnesGraphique JL BELLAT
Italie; 3895 T; 48% 9

Italie; 164; 8%

Espagne; 1 849; 92%


• The spanish production is spread from late September to mid November and offers large and cheaper quantities

• Fresh medium sized chestnuts are exported to French and Italian processing companies. These volumes have risen sharply in the past five years, especially to Italy, who is in strong demand for chestnuts.

• Primary processing units have been developing since the 1980’s. A large part of processed chestnuts (frozen and peeled) from Spain are exported to France, Switzerland and Belgium, intended to an industrial market and for major retailers. specialised in the frozen food market.

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Portugal - volumes Importation Pays hors UE : 508 Tonnes - données 2020 Graphique JL BELLAT Portugal - Volumes Importations Pays Européens 2 019 Tonnes - données 2020


Portugal; 1849 T; 16%

Pays bas; 90 T; 1%

Allemagne; 648 T; 6% Autriche; 10 T; 0% Belgique; 54 T; 0% Danemark; 16 T; 0% France; 4 035 T; 36% Hongrie; 20 T; 0% Italie; 4 521 T; 40%

autres U.E ; 5 T; 0%

autres UE ; 106; 1%

Graphique JL BELLAT

Autriche; 188 T; 5%

France; 86 T; 3% Italie; 368 T; 10% Pays bas; 36 T; 1% Grèce; 66 T; 2% Portugal; 2 793 T; 79%

Graphique JL BELLAT

France exports around 45% of its production, mainly fresh. In total, 3,372 tonnes will be exported in 2021 compared to 2,749 tonnes in 2020. This volume has remained more or less constant in recent years, depending on production. Exports are mainly to Europe (75.5%), mainly to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, but also to countries outside the EU (22.5%) such as Switzerland (449 tonnes) and Japan (29 tonnes). In total, between 2,000 and 2,600 tonnes are traded for export to other European countries.

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Espagne - Volume Exportations vers pays Européens 11 349 Tonnes - données 2020 Espagne - Volumes Exportations UK : 251 Tonnes, hors Europe : 548 Espagne - Volumes Importations Pays Européens 3354 Tonnes données 2020 Espagne Volumes Importation hors UE (Chili) : 623 Tonnes données 2020

Imports come mainly from other European countries (95.2%), with volumes imported from outside Europe coming from Turkey for the fresh market and from Chile and other Balkan countries for the processing industry.

France - Volumes Exportations vers Pays Européens 2749 Tonnes données 2020

France - Volumes Exportations UK : 145 Tonnes, Suisse : 449 Tonnes, hors Europe : 181 Tonnes - données 2020

Portugal; 99 T; 5% Suede; 8 T; 0%

autres UE ; 15 T; 1%

Pays bas; 76 T; 4%

Luxembourg; 38 T; 2%

Italie; 341 T; 17%

Grèce; 30 T; 2%

Allemagne; 630 T; 32%

Autriche; 47 T; 2% Belgique; 184 T; 9% Espagne; 503 T; 26%

France - Volumes importations Pays Européens 10 646 Tonnes - données 2020

France - Volumes Importation hors UE (Turquie, Chili) : 534 Tonnes - données 2020

autres U.E ; 2 T; 0%

Grèce; 32 T; 0% Portugal; 1 942 T; 18%

Pays bas; 102 T; 1%

Italie; 4 456 T; 42%

Allemagne; 39 T; 1% Belgique; 18 T; 0% Croatie; 20 T; 0%

Espagne; 4 035 T; 38%


European Chestnut White

Greece has specialised in the production of large sized fruit and has become one of Italy's main suppliers for the past 7 to 8 years with increasingly large export volumes (4027 T in 2020, 4300 T in 2021). It also trades with neighbouring countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus but also outside Europe with Turkey. The exported volumes (5445 T in 2020) are much more important than the imported volumes (383 T), generating more than 11 to 13 million euros these last two years.

Grèce - Volumes Exportations vers Pays Européens 4 836 Tonnes - données 2020

Roumanie; 79 T; 2%

Espagne; 66 T; 1%

Allemagne; 230 T; 5% France; 32 T; 1% Bulgarie; 120 T; 2%

Croatie; 93 T; 2%

Chypre; 189 T; 4%

Italie; 4027 T; 83%

Grèce - Volumes Exportations hors UE : 609 Tonnes - données 2020

Grèce - Volumes Importations Pays Européens 98 Tonnes données 2020

France; 30 T; 23%

Chypre; 36 T; 28%

Graphique JL BELLAT

Bulgarie; 62 T; 49%

Grèce Volumes Importation hors UE (Turquie) : 285 Tonnes données 2020

Graphique JL BELLAT

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA

Austria organises its production for its national market but as it is often insufficient, it also trades with other neighbouring European countries (Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic) but also with Spain, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. It is also an important customer of Italy (2024 T). The volume imported is 4 times higher than the volume exported because national consumption is growing, encouraging national producers to organise themselves to plant new orchards and meet this growing domestic demand.

Autriche - Volumes Importations Pays Européens 2 270 Tonnes - données 2020

Allemagne; 145 T; 6% Espagne; 10 T; 1%

Portugal; 44 T; 2%

Italie; 2024 T; 89%

France; 47 T; 2%

Autriche - Volumes Importation Pays hors UE : 415 Tonnes - données 2020

Graphique JL BELLAT

Autriche Volumes Exportations vers Pays Européens 689 Tonnes - données 2020

Slovaquie; 29 T; 4%

Republique Tchèque; 3 T; 1%

Pays bas; 63; T 9%

Italie; 15 T; 2%

France; 2 T; 0%

Hongrie; 28 T; 4%

Espagne; 188 T; 27%

Slovenie; 44 T; 7%

Autriche - pas d'Exportations hors UE - données 2020

Allemagne; 317 T; 46%

Graphique JL BELLAT

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA


European Chestnut
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European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA 72
European Chestnut
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4-QUALITY SIGNS (PDOs, PGIs, and more)

Italy : PDOs and PGIs

With the contribution of Luciano Trentini / Source : Mipaaf, june 2022

In the table below AOP stands for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in English. And IGP stands for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), in English

Catégory Ye=ear Italian region Castagna di Cuneo IGP 2007 Piemonte Castagna del Monte Amiata IGP 2000 Toscana Castagna di Montella IGP 1996 Campania Castagna di Rocamonfina IGP 2022 Campania Castagna di Vallerano AOP 2009 Lazio Farina di Castagne della Lunigiana AOP 2009 Toscana Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana AOP 2004 Toscana Marrone del Mugelllo IGP 1996 Toscana Marrone della Valle di Susa IGP 2010 Piemonte Marrone di Caprese Michelangelo AOP 2009 Toscana Marrone di Castel del Rio IGP 1996 Emilia Romagna Marrone di Combai IGP 2009 Veneto Marrone di Roccadaspide IGP 2008 Campania Marrone di San Zeno AOP 2003 Veneto Marrone di Serino Castagna di Serino IGP 2018 Campania Marrone di Monfenera IGP 2009 Veneto

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Other chestnut based products ::

• Miele della Lunigiana, AOP, 2004, Toscana

• Miele delle Dolomiti Bellunesi, AOP, 2011, Veneto

France : PDOs and PGIs

Chataigne d’Ardèche PDO 2014 Chataigne de Cèvennes Apellation d’Origine Controlée 2020 Farine de Chataigne Corse Farina Castagnina Corsa PDO 2003 Corsica

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Portugal : PDOs and PGIs

Castagna de Padrela PDO, 1996

Castagna dos Soutos de Lapa PDO, 1996 Castagna Marvao Portalegre PDO, 1996 Castagna de Terra Fria PDO, 1996

Spain : PDOs, Marca de Garantia and PGIs

Catégory Year Region

Castaña de Galicia PGI 2010 Galicia Castaña del Bierzo MG (Guaranty Brand, in Spanish Marca de Garantía) 2009 Castilla y Leon Miel de Galicia PGI 2007 Galicia

Miel de Tenerife PDO 2012 Canarias Miel de Granada PDO 2005 Andalucia

Turkey : the Protected Designation of Origin

Aydin Kestanesi PDO, 2020

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Chestnut production decreases and consumption too.

The main characteristics of European consumption :

• The chestnut is a traditional fruit that was used as a staple food of rural people

• Chestnut consumption is occasional : in autumn as fresh fruit (during the harvest period) and as processed fruit, marrons glacés, canned chestnuts (used for Christmas meals)

• Consumption of roasted chestnuts in the streets during winter months.

• The fruit has a contradictory duality: it is both a simple product of the poorer rural populations and a luxury festive product (marrons glacés).

• It has to be noted that the fresh product is difficult to prepare. The 2 skins have to be removed to cook it.

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The following points summarise the context:

• Lack of time of the modern consumer who abandons these fruits because they are too complicated to peel.

• Permanent search for health arguments : they are insufficiently highlighted on chestnut products.

• The chestnust is a fruit (the burs and leaves) that still "decorates" the stalls of autumn, and is then forgotten. It is only consumed in autumn and during the Christmas holidays.

It is therefore necessary to develop a communication towards consumers and distributors to promote an all year round use. Still, it has to be noted that the image of the product largely remains positive. This communication should be especially aimed at young people who are largely under consumers of fruit and vegetables and chestnuts in particular.

In Italy, France, Spain and Portugal Italian consumption is mainly oriented towards fresh fruit for 45 to 50%. For the « marron » (term only used by the French), the share of outlets for agro processing is higher than the European average, 40% is consumed as frozen confectionery products and peeled products and 10% as dehydrated products and flour.

In France, depending on the year, the national production is mainly consumed by the fresh market and marketed by organised groups of producers but also by commercial operators. Only « marrons » of small caliber and partitioned fruits are exploited by the processing industry, mainly as purée in Ardèche and as flour in Corsica. The chestnuts imported on the French territory are used for 90% by food industry, processed for confectionery and for canning. They are consumed for Christmas.

In Spain and in Portugal, despite clearly identified production areas, marketing is highly dispersed and mainly carried out by private commercial operators. There are very few producer organisations with significant market weight. The consumption is mainly in fresh and in autumn and sometimes as dried chestnuts.


The chestnut is a fresh fruit that is eaten almost always cooked, grilled or boiled after being peeled. It is quite natural that this fruit quickly showed a particular interest for new transformations allowing an interesting alternative of added value and thus increasing the diversity of the product offer to the consumers.

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Primary transformations such as drying have improved the conservation of the fruit. The first known transformation are marrons glacés. It is by far the oldest method used to turn sweet chestnuts to candy by slow cooking in a sugar syrup that diffuses into the fruit.

France and Italy are the undenyable leaders of this processing and have acquired precise know how for the preparation of this product. More recently, in the 1970s, the industry developed thanks to chestnut peeling equipment and they could this meet demands for new consumption ways Gradually, the European chestnut producing countries have equipped themselves with industrial processing units for the peeling, but also for the production of cream and mashed chestnuts.

France, at the origin of the creation of these industrial tools, has prefered the development of twenty industrial processing units in the main production areas, namely Ardèche, Périgord Limousin and Occitania, with an annual production of 13 900 tons, generating a turnover of 119 million euros.

In Italy, in the region of Avellino in Campania, in Piedmont, Lazio and Tuscany, factories have been created around the chestnut production by making frozen peeled chestnuts as well as frozen and marrons glacés. Italy is the European country where the consumption of processed products is the most important and its processing industry is very diversified. Italian production includes small craft companies and medium ones in the chestnut growing regions which produce 40 000 to 45 000 tons and generate a turnover of 250 million euros.

In the north west of Spain, in the Galicia region (which produces more than 70% of the Spanish production) but also in Leon, two marron glacés and cream factories and three frozen peeled chestnut factories, developed in the 80’s with other small craft companies. They transform 7 000 to 8 000 tons, generating about 45 million euros in turnover. Some of these processed products are exported to other European countries and Japan.

In Portugal, since the 1990’ s, four frozen peeled chestnut processing factories were established in the northern region (Trás os Montes) where is most of the country’s production (more than 80%). This industrial production represents about 15 000 to 18 000 tons for a turnover of 80 million euros, which are 80% exported to other European countries and to Brazil.

More than half of the European production of chestnuts is currently for industrial and artisanal processing with about 68 500 tons of processed chestnut products.

In recent years, industrial production has become much more important because it brings new consumption possibilities, in a world of urban consumption in search for natural and healthy products, that also are easy to consume.

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA


In recent years, the emergence of gluten* intolerance, has seen the development by manufacturers of a whole new special range of “gluten free” products based on chestnut such as pasta, biscuits and breads

The chestnut is a very eclectic fruit because it has multiple consumption possibilities. Its processing, which has various forms, facilitates the use of this natural and wild fruit in many culinary preparations.

The transformation of the chestnut is a practical answer to the new dietary needs and to the nutritional balance demanded by the consumers in search of a healthier lifestyle.

Processed chestnut market

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA



The case of France

Source UICSO

• Yields: 0.5 to 1.5 tons/ha in old orchards and 1 to 3 tons/ha in recent orchards

• Production costs: vary from 0.50 €/kg to 1.50/kg excluding harvesting cost

• The harvesting costs vary from 0.50 €/kg (mechanical harvest with subsidy equipment) to more than 1 €/kg (manual harvesting). Harvesting is most often done by the farmer. This labour is generally paid below the cost of hired labour.

• The cost of plantation an irrigated system orchard: 10 000 €/Ha

• The cost of requalifying of an abandoned chestnut orchard: it is very variable depending on the condition of the orchard, accessibility and work to be done (pruning in particular): it is estimated between 1 500 €/ha to more than 7 000 €/ha.

Production price

Fresh market: 2 60 to 3 30 €/kg

Processing market: 1 80 to 2 60 €/kg for industrial peeling

1.20 to 1.60 €/kg for cream and mashed chestnuts 4 00 to 5 00 €/kg for marrons glacés

Consumer prices

Fresh market: 4.50 to 6.90 €/kg

Processing market: average yield 2 kg of fresh fruit = 1 kg of peeled fruit

Organic processed chestnuts: yield 4 kg of fresh fruit = 1 kg of flour produced 20 to 30 €/kg for an artisanal product and 18 to 22 €/kg for an industrial product

European Chestnut White

Average public prices on retail markets

Artisanal production Industry products

Canned chestnuts (peeled, cooked) 12 à 18 €/kg 8 5 à 15 €/kg

Flour 10 à 15 €/kg 8 à 12 €/kg

Cream 10 à 18 €/kg De 3 à 6 €/kg

Purée 10 à 15 €/kg 2 5 à 5 €/kg

Fresh chestnuts ready to eat Pas de produits 12 à 16 €/kg

Today, the consumer selling prices allow an interesting remuneration for the producer

European Chestnut White Paper, by


The chestnut sector has many assets which needs to be developped. But, there also are several constraints.

The assets

The market

• An unsatisfied market in volume, which has to rely on non EU imports to be supplied (Turkey, China, Korea)

• Consumer prices that can pay the various stakeholders in the sector (producers, marketers, processors).

• A steady increase in sales of processed products.


• A dynamic processing industry (primary processing and fresh products): Italy, France, Spain, Portugal

• A wide range of products for savory or sweet recipes:

o the fresh chestnut: a pleasure of autumn and winter, to be eaten grilled or cooked in water (mashed chestnuts, whole chestnut in accompaniment of dishes, etc.).

o dry products: flour, whole dry chestnuts, broken (to be used as rice), pasta, etc.

o sweet products: marrons glacés, creams, jams, pastries, etc.

o drinks: syrups, licors, beers, etc. soups, terrines and other delicatessen

• Various packaging possibilities: fresh, canned, frozen, airtight consevation, etc.

European Chestnut White Paper, by

• A real health asset: the chestnut is a healthy fruit, without gluten, interesting for people suffering from Celiac disease (gluten intolerance). It is estimated that 1% of people can develop this disease in Europe. The prevalence seems identical in the North American continent. In France, only 10 to 20% of the cases are diagnosed. (Source: French Association of Gluten Intolerants

• Dietary characteristics:

o Vitality: the energy value of the chestnut is comparable to that of cereals (180 Kcal per 100g). Moreover, its sugars have the advantage of gradually releasing their energy in the blood; it is therefore ideal for athletes and for resistance to effort,

o Diet balance: chestnut proteins accompanied by a dairy product, has a perfect dietary balance.

o Minerals: chestnut is generous in potassium and magnesium that help fight against stress and fatigue and it is well provided with calcium, iron and trace elements.

o Vitamins: the vitamin C intake of 100 g of fresh uncooked chestnuts is equivalent to 100 g of lemon

o Chestnuts contain about 1 2% of dry matter of fat, mostly unsaturated fatty acids that are favorable to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Landscape and men

There is a strong link between the human been from chestnut producing areas and the fruit, which it is shown by the expression "chestnut civilisation". The chestnut tree has fed humans and animals for generations. Its wood was used for heating, charcoal, furniture, barrels, parquet, carpentry, cladding of houses, etc. It has shaped the landscapes of entire regions.

Today, many women and men are passionate about this tree and its fruit:

• The chestnut growers themselves,

• but also many people who perpetuate the knowledge of the chestnut tree through associations, festivals and events, museums, educational actions for children, cookbooks, « chestnut menus » in restaurants, culinary specialties, etc. They all are ambassadors of the chestnut.

The chestnut orchard has an essential contribution to the tourist appeal of the producing regions through the maintenance of remarkable landscapes and the agricultural and architectural heritage associated to it.

The chestnut orchard and the environnement.

• Orchard maintenance plays a very important role in the fight against fires.

• The chestnut orchard is still predominantly instaled in old orchards. They are composed of large trees with well cared undergrowth. They are comparable only with very few other natural, forest or agricultural habitats. The forest grown for timber have often younger and smaller trees. The old

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA


chestnut trees are riddled with large cavities and crevices in their bark. They are home to an exceptional biodiversity, including:

o Birds, especially cavicultural species (woodpeckers, owls, etc.).

o Cave mammals: bats (chiroptera). At European level, the Habitats Fauna Flora Directive (EEC N ° 92/43) states that all species should be given strict protection.

o Saproxylic insects: this name is used for species that depend for part of their life cycle, on dead or dying wood, on tree fungi or on other dead wood feeding organisms. The saproxylic species belong to one of the most endangered invertebrate communities at European scale.

• Renewable energy production: Although it is a secondary service of the chestnut grove, timber represent a significant source of energy.

• Contribution to carbon storage: "agricultural carbon sink" Agriculture, among other features, is not only a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions like other sectors of the economy, it can also provide carbon sinks, that is, a mean of storing (or "trapping" or "sequestering") the main anthropogenic GHG, carbon dioxide or CO2, in the biomass (organic matter) of the soil and plants. These are mostly grasslands, especially "permanent meadows" (natural meadows, moors, lawns ...), which are quoted as an agricultural example of carbon sinks, because they generally have a biological activity of the soil ("life soil), and a higher organic matter content than most other types of agricultural occupations. What is interesting is that the traditional chestnut orchard represents a type of agricultural storage that is even more efficient (as regards surface and hectares) than grasslands, because of the determining role of chestnut trees in carbon sequestration (carbon stock and flux) in ligneous biomass. 85
European Chestnut White Paper, by
©AREFLH Laetitia Forget


Chestnut production needs little inputs, it thus easlily leads to the development of organic farming certifications

• Chestnut

growing enters

in the High Natural Value Agriculture (HNV) framework

The European Environment Agency (EEA) defines HNV areas as "areas of Europe where agriculture is a major (usually dominant) form of space use and where agriculture is the origin or is associated with a great diversity of species and habitats and/or the presence of species of European interest "(Andersen, 2003). Most of the European sweet chestnut orchards falls within this framework.

• Chestnut production is supported by successful research and experimental organisations:

o A structured French network: INRA, CTFL, INVENIO, SEFRA, ARMELR and AREFLEC are working together on a diversified programme: Plant material: varietal selection, disease tolerant rootstocks, drought resistance: new hybrid varieties created in France that are tolerant of the main diseases and pests and adapted to certain production conditions.

Cultural management: modern orchard, improvement of labour in traditional orchards fruit health status: orchard control against codling moth, balanin and rots.

o In Portugal, UTAD, INIAV and IPB are working on management, breeding and sanitary issues.

o Universities in Italy especially those of Torino, Firenze, Padova, Viterbo, Italian National Research

o A European consultation in the fight against the gall wasp, initiated by the chestnut tree growers and based on the experience of the University of Turin and the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) of Sophia Antipolis.

• Harvesting techniques in traditional orchards that partially offset the decline in the family work force: mechanisation with vacuum cleaners, nets, etc.

• The installation costs of new farmers, on existing orchards, are relatively low compared to other agricultural productions.

• The traditional chestnut orchard often combines two products: the chestnut, plus a form of extensive permanent crop: the grass under the trees that is used for the grazing of extensive animal breeding.

• Chestnut tree growing is also an opportunity for diversification of farmers through tourism: orchard visits, processing and sale of products on the farm, accommodation, catering, etc.

The constraints

The market:

• Gradual reduction of fresh fruit consumption.

• A product that benefits from very little promotional effort.

• A product that is seldom identified and labelled with the origin of its production.

• Chinese competition that has been going on since 2005 with low prices on both the fresh and the processed products.

• Intra EU competition due to different production costs between European Union countries.

• No or little standardisation for the fresh fruit trade.

The production :

• A pest that affects almost all traditional and hybrid varieties: the chestnut gall wasp (which causes a sharp drop in production). Its presence in Europe might accelerate the abandonment of the orchards. It also disrupts the tree nursery sector.

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA


• A majority of traditional (old) orchards in all countries. They are being phased out despite the renewal of production efforts in many regions.

• The chestnut orchards are mainly located in zones with a strong natural handicap, between 300 and 1200 m above sea level, in dry zones, with strong agricultural abandonment.

• A network of older producers that diminishes at the same time as the agricultural family economy.

• A part of the traditional orchards is productive but another one is unexploited and abandoned, notably due to the lack of will from the owners.

• Traditional varieties are sensitive to diseases and pests: phytophthora, bark canker, gall wasp, etc.

• A lack of suitable rootstocks for production in dry zones

• Producer prices that sometimes are insufficient, especially for chestnuts intended for industrial processing.

• Traditional orchards facing, in many areas, an increase in the damage by wildlife, especially wild boars.

European Chestnut White Paper, by
©AREFLH Laetitia Forget


The chestnut ecosystem has many assets (it is naturally good and suitable for a healthy and balanced diet, with a wide range of uses for cooking and snacking), This ecosystem contributes very positively to the fight against global warming It is essential to human and economic activity of many rural areas.

However, to regain its potential and its place at a worldwide level, the sector must manage to control the diseases and pests that handicap the harvests and must program dynamic plantation schemes. In addition, it is important that the chesnut sector be part of a strong and ongoing communication policy with consumers and distributors to take a lasting roots in new consumption patterns.

European Chestnut White Paper, by



The European chestnut network is composed of:

• AREFLH (Assembly of European Horticultural Regions) which provides the secretariat of the network,

And the national organisations from the main producing countries in Europe:

• The Red Estatal del Castaño (Spain)

• The National Union of Chestnut Producers of France, SNPC

• Refcast Associação Portuguesa da Castanha (Portugal)

• Centro di Studio e Documentazione sul Castagno, CSDC (Italy)

• ARGE Zukunft Edelkastanie (Austria)

• Cooperative Melia, Grèce

The network has the following missions:

• To represent, defend and promote the common interests of producers, manufacturers and commercial operators of the chestnut sector in the European and world economy.

• To organise dialogue, consultations, studies and joint action among its members.

• To strengthen the representation of the chestnut sector to the European institutions, regional and national public authorities.

• To promote the renovation of the European chestnut orchards

• To organise the every year the European Chestnut Congress

• To organise technical missions, to stimulate communication programs, to promote cooperation in scientific, technical or economic issues

European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA
European Chestnut White Paper, by EUROCASTANEA 90


Document published by EUROCASTANEA in collaboration with the various partners and experts of the network


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