Even though the coronavirus crisis in China took place in the middle of the cherry export season, Argentina's season concluded with positive results as the country exported a record 5,600 tons, i.e. 20% more than in the previous year.
Exports also achieved a record value. This year, cherry exports amounted to 27 million dollars, based on the declared FOB values; a much better figure than the 22 million dollars achieved in the 2018/2019 campaign. The average value achieved per kilo of cherry stood at $ 4.80.
Despite everything, China was the main destination for Argentine cherries, accounting for 33% of shipments. Including sales to Hong Kong, this share grows to 36%. The United States was the second most important market with 30% of purchases. Europe and the United Kingdom accounted for 20% of purchases and the rest was sold in the Middle East, where the cherry found an important niche for its sale.
However, the final values in China plummeted as of the third week of January due to the controls that the Asian giant imposed on all its ports of entry because of the COVID-19. According to private-sector sources, about 50 containers of cherries that arrived at this destination from January 21 had to be kept in port for several days and many of them were opened before being taken to the Chinese markets. Estimated losses would reach $ 4 million, as reflected in recent reports by the companies.
The pandemic put a lower ceiling on Argentine cherry exports in the Chinese market. Chile's offer also contributed to decrease prices.
The volumes exported by Chile continue to impress. To date, Chile has exported more than 230,000 tons of cherries worldwide, although China is still their main destination. Chilean cherry exports increased by 27% over the previous year and are almost 40 times the volume of cherries that Argentina exported. The development that the Chilean fruit sector has had is an example throughout the world. Chilean cherry exports alone amount to more than $ 1.1 billion a year. It is a work and production model that Argentina should imitate in order to achieve these objectives.
Source: Rio Negro / revistachacra.com.ar