The varietal replacement and the improvement of the quality of Chilean grapes have been mentioned as strategies to be able to compete in the international market against the rest of the producing countries worldwide. In this context, Chile has seen an increase in the cultivation of protected varieties, parallel to a decrease in that of traditional varieties. “If we look into what has been happening in Chile when it comes to the export of protected varieties, we can see that those exports have been increasing since the 2010-2011 season, when they only represented 1% of shipments. In the 2018-2019 season, protected varieties already account for 17% of the total, or 112,519 tons. In addition, if we compare the last two seasons, we see that exports of traditional varieties have dropped by 17%, and exports of protected varieties have increased by 35%,” said Isabel Urrutia, an IQonsulting professional, during her participation in Fruittrade 2019.
As for the traditional varieties exported in 2018-2019 by Chile, they all recorded declines; for example, the Red Globe saw its shipments fall by 11% (24,500 tons) compared to the 2017-2018 period. Meanwhile, those of Crimson Seedlees were down by 1% (2,000 tons), and those of the Thompson fell by 20% (28,000 tons). To this we must add the performance of varieties like the Flame S, with a 65% decrease in exports, and the Sugraone / Sup, with a 28% drop (10,000 tons).
Regarding the shipment of protected varieties, the most important are the red seedless grapes, which are also the ones that have grown the most, with a 45% increase in the 2018-2019 campaign (22,100 tons) compared to the previous period. Next in terms of importance are white seedless grapes, with +18% (3,590 tons), and the black seedless, with +33% (3,800 tons).
As for the most exported protected varieties, the most remarkable results are those of the Timco, with a 50% growth in the 2018-19 campaign compared to the previous one, the Sweet Celebration (+16%), Allison (+78%), Ralli S. (+16%) and Krispy (+ 69%). Also, the "Other varieties" category has grown by 92%. This includes patented varieties such as Black Seedless (+26%), Arra 15 (+23%), Sweet Flavors (+267%), Midnight Beauty (+8%) and Maylen (+56%).
In terms of exports from the southern hemisphere, including India, Urrutia highlighted that if comparing the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 campaigns, Chile is the origin that has recorded the greatest drop in the volume of table grape shipments, with 11%, while countries like Peru, Australia and India have recorded increases of 39%, 35% and 25%, respectively. "Despite that, Chile continues to be the biggest exporter of table grapes in the southern hemisphere, with a 44% share," he said, adding that Chile's decline in exports is also due to a varietal replacement currently underway. To this we should add that the north of the country, for example, has yet to fully recover from the impact of floods and prolonged drought.
He also stressed that during the 2018-2019 financial year, Chile exported 653,956 tons of table grapes to various worldwide destinations. At the same time, Peru shipped 387,408 tons, followed by South Africa (267,359 tons), India (215,302 t), Australia (153,517 t) and Brazil (37,665 t).
Regarding the acreage planted with table grapes, Chile has 47,779 hectares; Peru, 29,779 hectares; South Africa, 21,077 hectares; Australia, 12.00 hectares and India, 140,000 hectares.