The cherry season kicked off with good prices for the Early Burlat variety, and this is once again the case with the start of the harvest of the Corazón de Paloma. This is good news for growers, although bad for consumers, as the prices paid to producers in some places almost reach 1,000 pesos per kilo, with consumers already paying up to 1,800 pesos.
Fruit shortages, both locally and nationally, are the reason for this. The situation of the Corazón de Paloma variety, produced mainly by small growers in Quinchamalí and Quillón, is different thanks to that region's microclimate, which escaped the recent frosts.
Despite the harvest being delayed for a week due to unusual weather conditions, one of Comercial Quinchamalí's associates, Teresa Gazmuri, states that the season is expected to be good and the organisation plans to introduce varieties for fresh export.
Elena Yáñez, agronomist specialised in cherry trees, points out that although the September frosts were initially believed not to have caused major damages, by the end around 50% of the fruit is estimated to have been lost. More accurate data will be available when the black and late varieties are harvested, which are among the most exported of the region's products.
The specialist stated that the drop in production volumes affects Chile as a whole; a country which is one of the world's largest providers when the northern hemisphere is out of season. Because of this, the price being guaranteed by exporting companies already stands at 4 to 5 dollars; much higher than last year's, which was only 1 dollar.