USDA Gain Report

Chile stone fruit – MY2017/18

Chile’s cherry exports reached a record of 184,741 tons in MY2017/18. Areas planted with cherry trees grew steadily at a 10.2 percent rate, surpassing 30,000 hectares in MY2017/18. Eighty five percent of Chilean cherries are exported to China. Post estimates MY2018/19 cherry exports to remain flat at 185,000 tons because of a decrease in yield offset by an increase in planted area.

Total fresh nectarine trees and peach orchards planted area reached 7,101 ha in MY2017/18, from which 5,101 ha are nectarines and 2,000 ha are peaches. Post forecasts fresh Chilean peaches and nectarines exports to decrease by 7.5 percent and reach 90,000 tons considering that the planted area of nectarine and fresh peaches is steady but yields will not be as high as in MY2017/18.

Post expects planted area to keep growing since production area continues to increase in the central regions and expands to southern regions of Biobio and Araucania, using rooftops to protect cherries from rainfall during the harvest season.

Cherries remain the most planted fruit in Chile, along with walnuts and hazelnuts, due to their high profits and an increasing demand from China. However, sources indicate that prices in China decreased with large supplies exported to that market. Still China pays higher prices than the price other country destinations offer to

Chilean exporters. MY2017/18 was a record year in production with 205,741 tons, and exports of 184,741 tons since climatic conditions were very favourable for cherry production with enough rainfall during the winter, high average temperatures during the spring, and absence of rainfall during the harvest months (from November to January).

Yields in MY2018/19 could be slightly lower than the previous marketing year since optimal conditions are unlikely to repeat and trees usually have some fall in yield year over year after a highly productive campaign. Nevertheless, Post expects production MY2018/19 estimates 209,000 tons taking into account that the planted area keeps growing but that there could be a slight fall in yields.

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