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Chile: Export volume similar to last seasons fruit expected

After analyzing the Agro-climatic Report of the Fruit Development Foundation (FDF), which was developed by the Web and that corresponds to over 250 automatic weather stations throughout all the fresh fruit producing areas of Chile, the Fruit Exporters Association of Chile AG (ASOEX) expects that the export volume of fresh fruits in the 2015-2016 season will be similar to that recorded during the 2014-2015 season.

According to the report, up to October 19, 2015 the regions of Atacama, Coquimbo, Valparaiso, Metropolitana, O'Higgins, Maule, Bio Bio, Araucanía, Los Ríos, and Los Lagos, had a higher accumulated rainfall, a warmer winter, and wetter spring than in previous seasons; situations which, although positive for securing water for irrigation of the fields, could affect the production volume and the chance of having more fruit for export last season.

According to the document, the rainfall accumulated between January 1 and October 19, 2015 far exceeds that of last year at the same date. The accumulated rainfall in the different areas from the Atacama region to Los Lagos is significantly higher than last year on the same date, except in some areas in the south, which pose no problems for agriculture.

"The Region of Coquimbo was hit by a severe drought for at least 3-4 years; now, thanks to rain and snow, we can say that the there is enough water supply to meet demand for this season and the next," said Ronald Bown, president of ASOEX.

The report makes it clear that the accumulated cold hours (starting at 7° C) from May 1 to August 31, 2015, were lower than in the same date last season in the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo, which affects sprouting and makes it uneven. However, sprouting was heterogeneous in other regions of the country that experienced lower and less higher cold hours. "In short, the winter was warmer than last season," said Bown.

There was practically no frost in September, except in very specific cases and it wasn't very serious. On average, there was one frost between the Maule Region and Los Lagos around September 10. In October the fruits have not been affected by frost.

In general, the days-degrees or thermal energy storage (starting at 10° C between July 1 and October 19, 2015) has been very similar to last year. However, the accumulated days-degrees to date have fallen in the last 15 to 20 days in many areas associated with rainfall compared to last year. In general, the start of the harvest is approximately one week delayed. 

"We are having a wet spring, with at least three important rains and, according to the forecast made by the Meteorological Office of Chile, the rains would continue until mid-December as a result of El Niño. This in turn, has increased the cost of phytosanitary applications over the same period last year," said Ronald Bown.

According to the representative of ASOEX, it should be noted that the latest weather events have had local characteristics of different magnitude. He also said that it was very difficult to make global estimates of the effects of snowfalls, hail or high intensity rainfall because they had been more local. "There are fruit losses in some locations due to hail, but only in those locations. The same happened with the snow in some high locations of Elqui. It's not possible to make forecast based on quantitative data, as this weather situation may have different effects on the fruits that still can't be measured. Visually, we can observe that there are less fruits in some orchards. It is too early to indicate how the fruit calibers will be. In general terms we expect there will be a significant increase in the volume of fruit export," said Ronald Bown.

Last season exports
According to statistics from ASOEX, Chile exported a total of 2,399,976 tons of fresh fruit in the 2014-2015 season, i.e. 1.35% more than in the 2013-2014 campaign.

The North American market, consisting of the United States and Canada, maintained its leadership as the main destination of Chilean fruit with 818,147 tons, followed by Europe with 563,813 tons; Latin America with 488,174 tons, Asia with 437,786 tons, and the Middle East with 92,056 tons.

The main fruits exported in volume were table grapes, which once again were located at the forefront of total exports of fresh fruit from Chile, with 759,855 tons, followed by apples (638,485 t), kiwi (166,507 t), pears (133,799 t), cherries (103,081 t), plums (97,670 t), blueberries (92,210 t), avocados (68,050 t) and oranges (67,640 t).

For more information check the FDF Agro-climatic Report here.

Source: SimFRUIT

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