Despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chilean cherries achieved historical figures during the 2019-2020 season, where China was a key consumer.
The president of the Federation of Fruit Producers of Chile (Fedefruta), Jorge Valenzuela, stated that Chile had exported a historical volume of nearly 230,000 tons of cherries last season. He also said these exports left revenues of 1.4 billion dollars for Chile.
Valenzuela said that the Chilean cherry season started in late October and that a large volume of the fruit, almost 85%, arrived in the Asian country before the Chinese New Year (January 25), a celebration in which this fruit is highly coveted.
However, during the weeks in which China was paralyzed as a result of the COVID-19, there was a decrease in prices and sales. In addition, the process of removing the fruits from the ports slowed down. "Luckily, only 12 to 20% of the fruit remained, so it didn't affect us much," he said.
Valenzuela also stated that, according to official figures, Chile currently has 38,000 hectares of cherries. However, he added, they estimate that the figure will rise to 50,000 hectares. "In the next few years we are going to reach 600,000 tons of cherries quite quickly," he said.
Last Wednesday, Fedefruta held the online seminar "International market for cherries and blueberries: the 2019/20 Season Lessons for Chile," which was attended by more than 500 people.
At the event, iQonsulting market analyst, Gonzalo Salinas, stated that the cherry was the third most exported species in Chile, only behind apples and table grapes. "It should be noted that cherries have already exceeded the $ 1 billion export barrier, a figure that has been maintained in these last three seasons and that is on the rise," he said.
He also stressed that the export trend in Chile is on the rise and, unlike other fruits such as grapes or blueberries, the South American country is consolidating this crop with 10 high-quality varieties. He also stressed that Chile sent almost 91% of its production to China.
Moreover, Valenzuela highlighted that Chile has improved logistics and distribution with fast ships that have reduced the shipping time by sea to arrive in the Asian country from 40 to 21 days.
In the 2019/20 season, the southern hemisphere exported a record 242,306 tons of cherries, thanks to the increased export from Chile, which exported a historical 228,548 tons, i.e. 27% more than in the 2018/19 season, according to data disseminated by Fedefruta.
For more information: http://fedefruta.cl