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2015 Chilean citrus season launches with first clementine shipment to US

The Chilean citrus industry has kicked off with the year’s first shipment of clementines to the U.S. market. Exports began in week 17, with the shipping of about 170 tons aboard the ship MSC Federica from Valparaiso. Six containers are headed to the port of Philadelphia, and 2 containers are destined for Long Beach. The first Chilean Clementines will reach the U.S. market in mid May.

Clementine harvesting is currently taking place in Montepatria and Vicuña, in the Coquimbo region of Chile. Due to water shortages in these northern, early maturing areas, year to date exported volume is lower than last year. Nevertheless, shipping volumes are expected to grow from week 19 onwards, as more fields begin picking.

With robust year-round demand for easy peelers in the U.S., the Chilean Citrus Committee anticipates a strong season for clementines. Juan Enrique Ortuzar, chairman of the Chilean Citrus Committee comments, “We’ve spent a great deal of time in the fields observing this year’s harvest. The color is breaking now and the quality we see is excellent. We look forward to providing the U.S. market with the high quality citrus it has come to expect from Chile.”

As the longest, southernmost country in the world, Chile boasts unique geographical conditions that allow for long harvest periods. Chile starts harvesting clementines in Northern Chile in late April, and then continues moving south, with late-season mandarins (W. Murcotts) harvested into September. Chile’s total clementine volume has grown by 50% between 2010 and 2014, with more than fifty percent of U.S. easy peeler imports between May and October coming from Chile.

The U.S. is also a key destination for Chilean lemon and navel exports, says Karen Brux, Managing Director for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, “We’ll continue to work with our network of merchandisers to provide strong retail marketing support throughout the season. Social media, joint promotions and retail incentive programs will all be integral parts of this year’s campaign.”

Media Contact:
Karen Brux
Chilean Fresh Fruit Association
Tel: (650) 654-0777

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