The Chilean garlic harvest begins November, and growers-packing-exporters are now beginning the export season which will be in its peak in January, February and March. The main variety grown in Chile is the Chinese purple garlic, and the country’s main export destinations are Mexico and Brazil.
Pricing has improved this year
Francisco Katunarić, the business manager of Eight discusses this year’s season and says: “The harvest started on time this year and is going very well. We have been very fortunate with the weather this year – the dry climate was good for the garlic condition. We have had normal sizing and coloring, but overall the quality is very good.”
“Last year, the prices were low. This was because the prices of the Chinese product were low, and since they are such big suppliers of garlic, other markets had to adjust their pricing based on China in order to remain competitive. This year, the prices are much better. We are seeing better pricing and are expecting higher returns”
Brazil turns to Chilean garlic
Chile’s garlic season contrasts with the seasons of their competition, which means they are able to export the garlic to the northern areas and fill gaps in demand there. Katunarić shares: “Last year, Chile exported about a million boxes of garlic, so it is a small market for us but I like to say that good things come in small packages. Our largest market is Mexico, and about 91% of our product is destined to go there. Brazil is the next largest market and receives 8% of the product. The final 1% of the product is divided over a few other countries around the world, like Australia and Spain.’
He continues: “Brazil has been surprising us this season, and has been buying a lot more garlic from Chile than they have in the past. We expect the usual 8% to Brazil to increase to 20-25% this year. Brazil usually gets most of its garlic from China, but due to Brazil’s anti-dumping fees for China the prices have risen. Argentina is another big supplier for Brazil, but Chile well positioned in the market this year and able to offer very competitive prices, and Brazil is using this to their advantage.”
Eight recently changed up their logo and have their own brand called Happy Garlic. “Right now, we are focusing on exporting high quality garlic and are dedicated to developing our Happy Garlic brand,” Katunarić concludes.