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Asoex Citrus Committee

Challenging season ahead for Chilean citrus

With the start of the Chilean citrus season just around the corner, the Citrus Committee published its estimates of what is expected for exports this year, and pointed out that the challenges will be much greater than those faced in previous seasons.

"It is going to be a challenging season, as there are several circumstances to take into account, and one of them is the increase in logistics costs, which have practically doubled. Added to this are the problems derived from COVID. In the Chinese market there are still many restrictions, and although these have been gradually lifted in other countries, we are still facing the consequences of the pandemic. Last, but not least, there's the drought that Chile has been suffering for more than a decade," says Juan Enrique Ortúzar, president of the ASOEX Citrus Committee.

One of the species that will be most affected by the drought are clementines. This year, their export volume is expected to reach 45,000 tons, which is 35% less than in 2021. "This season we have seen a significant drop in the production of clementines, a result of the drought that Chile is experiencing. Clementines are very important in the Coquimbo region, which is one of the areas most affected by the drought," said Ortúzar.

In the case of mandarins, which arrive later, the Citrus Committee expects the season not to be very different compared to the previous one, and although there isn't much growth in terms of volume, there are new plantations, so the prospect is to reach 120,000 tons this year; 5% less than last season.

Juan Enrique Ortúzar said that, in the case of lemons, it is still early to give accurate estimates; however, the volume is currently expected to reach 90,000 tons, which is 11% less than last season. "It is a developing market, but Argentina and South Africa are obviously having difficulties to export to Russia. The war in Ukraine, with the consequent trade sanctions on Russia, will cause that export volume to be redirected to alternative markets (probably the same situation applies to easy peelers and oranges), so it looks like a very challenging season. It is worth noting that the lemon growing areas have not been as affected by the drought, so we expect fruit of good size and quality, but there is a percentage that will not be exported due to high costs and logistical difficulties, so the season will be focused on the packing of premium fruit," says the executive.

For oranges, the export volume is expected to reach 90,000 tons, which would entail a 13% drop compared to 2021.

Source: Asoex Citrus Committee.

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