According to information provided by the President of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX), Ronald Bown Fernández, Chilean fruit exports during the recently completed 2017-2018 campaign reached a total of 2,781,092 tons. This entailed an increase of 6.7% compared to the 2016-2017 season, when a total of 2,607,055 tons were shipped.
"This increase has been achieved thanks to the record volumes of cherries and blueberries shipped, mainly in Asia and China. In the case of cherries, the increase has reached 96%, which led this fruit to become Chile's third most exported one for the first time. More than 90% of them went to China, following a big promotional campaign that was carried out to encourage greater consumption, and whose results have been successful. In fact, it was awarded as the Marketing Campaign of the Year in Asia within the framework of Asia Fruit Logistica 2018," said the President of ASOEX.
Regarding the destination markets, the leader of the fruit exporters highlighted the shipments to the Far East. "Asia was the market with the highest growth for our exports, with an increase of 30.7%." This rise reflects the great interest that the Asia-Pacific markets have gained in the fruit export sector, with China having become a key market. We believe that in the near future, Asia, and especially China, will be the main market for Chilean fruit shipments," he said.
Brown also pointed out that while the United States and Canada remain the main destination markets for Chilean fruits, receiving 32% of all exports during the 2017-2018 campaign, they recorded a 2.6% drop in terms of volume, compared to the previous year. This is due to a greater diversification of the destinations.
In this regard, the leader said that "the Chilean fruit industry is looking to diversify its exports, promote new markets and niches, as well as open new markets. This, however, doesn't mean that we will stop supplying our traditional markets, since we have managed to establish solid relationships and programs. Chilean fruit is recognized for its quality attributes, and our objective is that more people in the world consume Chilean fruit," he added.
The representative also revealed an increase in shipments to Europe. The total volume reached 658,711 tons, which entailed a rise of 10.3% compared to the previous campaign.
Apples outperform table grapes
As for species, Bown said that "for the second time, apples are the most exported fruit in Chile. Traditionally, the country's fruit exports are led by table grapes, with volumes that make Chile the largest exporter of table grapes in the world."
Apple exports totaled 774,807 tons and grew by 10.2% compared to the previous season. Next in the ranking are table grapes, with 731,746 tons; cherries, with 186,899 tons; kiwifruit, with 176,374 tons; avocados, with 143,395 tons; pears, with 129,564 tons; plums, with 120,652 tons and blueberries, with 110,207 tons.
The leader also stressed that as a group, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, clementines and mandarins) are an important sector within the Chilean fruit export industry. In this season, the total volume has exceeded 290 thousand tons.
When looking at individual countries, the United States is the main destination for Chilean fruit exports, followed by China-HK, the Netherlands, the UK and Colombia.
The US market received 843,359 tons, recording a 3.1% drop compared to the 2016-2017 campaign. It is worth stressing, however, that this figure is one of the three largest in terms of volumes exported over the past six seasons.
The species with the highest export volumes to the US were table grapes, which account for 39% of all fruit exports to this market (326,260 tons), oranges (82,714 tons), blueberries (67,098 tons), clementines (62,561 tons), apples (61,014 tons), mandarins (55,791 tons) and lemons (51,086 tons).
Citrus fruits had a particularly good season in this market, which is the biggest for these products, as some reflected significant increases: clementines grew by 56%, oranges by 16.3%, and lemons by 15.1%.
About 67% of Chilean fruit reached the US market through the ports of Philadelphia and Long Beach.
The Far East has consolidated as the second biggest destination market for Chilean fruits, with the import of a record-breaking 626,729 tons during the last 6 seasons. In the 2018-2019 campaign, shipments grew by 30.7%, which confirms the upward trend of exports observed since 2012-2013.
The main species shipped to Asia are table grapes, with a share of 30% (188,035 tons); cherries, with 27% of the total (168,773 tons); apples, with 20% of the total (121,933 tons), and plums, with 7% of the total (43,695 tons).
Within Asia, China-Hong Kong is the main destination, accounting for 81.35% of the total shipments to this continent and a growth of 45% compared to the 2016-2017 campaign. During the recent 2018-2019 financial year, the volume of Chilean fruits exported to China-Hong Kong reached a record 390,218 tons, the highest volume registered in the last six seasons.
The main species shipped by Chile to China are cherries, with a 41% share of all exports (161,508 tons); table grapes, with 31% of the total (119,271 tons); plums, with 11% (41,319 tons) and nectarines, with 4% of the total (16,833 tons).
Two species have recorded the most notable increases: cherries, with a 107% growth compared to the 2016-2017 campaign, and nectarines, with 117%.
Also noteworthy is the large increase in domestic fruit shipments to India, with a 133% growth, reaching 68,082 tons and a 14.19% share of exports to Asia.
Europe is the third biggest market for Chilean fruit. During the 2017-2018 campaign, it received a total of 658,711 tons of fresh fruit. This is 10.3% more than in the previous campaign and marks a recovery in terms of volume within the last six seasons, when the total had remained below 600 thousand tons. The record was reached in 2012-2013, when 708,240 tons were shipped.
The Old Continent was the second fastest growing market in 2017-2018.
Ronald Bown, said that one of the reasons for the increase in Europe is the growth recorded by apples (+46%), blueberries (+12.2%) and plums (+28.3%).
The main destination markets within Europe are the Netherlands (main port of entry and distribution within Europe), which received 28% of the total exports to that continent (184,499 tons), followed by the UK, with a 18.2% share (120,094 tons); Germany, which absorbed 12.3% of the exports (81,272 tons), and Russia, with 12.2% (80,590 tons).
Chilean fruit shipments recorded noteworthy increases in Germany (+41.6%), France (+18.5%) and Spain (+15.6%).
The most exported fruits are apples, with 225,597 tons and a 34.2% share of all shipments to this market, followed by table grapes (128,837 tons and 19.6% of the total), avocados (85,903 tons and 13%), kiwifruit (71,438 tons and 10.8%) and pears, with 62,099 tons and 9.4%.
Latin America is the fourth biggest destination for Chilean fruit. In the 2017-2018 campaign, exports totaled 505,058 tons; a slightly lower figure (-1.1%) than in the 2016-2017 period, but a stable one, looking at the volumes shipped to this market over the past six seasons.
Colombia is the main destination market, with a 21.59% share and exports totaling 109,047 tons, followed by Brazil, with a 19.31% and 97,540 tons, and Ecuador, with 15.60% of the total and 78,786 tons.
The fruits most often shipped to Latin America are apples, with 55% of the total (278,989 tons); table grapes, with 12% of the total (58,929 tons), and pears, with 10% of the total (52 455 tons).
This season, the Middle East markets received 89,171 tons, which entailed a slight 1.4% drop. The main destinations were Saudi Arabia, with 55,480 tons and a 62.2% share; the United Arab Emirates, with 17,413 tons, and Kuwait, with 3,986 tons.
The most exported fruits were apples, with 72% of the total shipped to the Middle East, followed by table grapes, with 12% of the total, and kiwifruit, with 8% of the total.
Origin of exports
The regions with the greatest contributions to Chilean fruits were the 6th Region, with 828,197 tons (29.8% share); the 7th Region, with 728,129 tons (26.2% of total), and the 5th Region, with 353,896 tons (12.7% of the total).
The region that saw its shipments grow the most compared to the 2016-2017 campaign was the 7th, with a 22.4% increase.
Lastly, the main ports of departure were Valparaíso, with 1,487,646 tons; San Antonio, with 824,477 tons, and Los Andes, with 123,721 tons.