This season, Chile exported 48% more citrus than in the previous season, and 16% more than the average of the last three seasons, according to the Chilean Fruit Citrus Committee.
"The season ended well with several positive surprises regarding the volume exported. The volume of clementine exports had a strong recovery, and we almost exported twice the volume of mandarins that we exported last year. Lemon exports recovered somewhat and orange exports ended well. Thus, we can say it was a season in which volumes recovered strongly. The market was relatively stable. Despite the increase in the volume of clementines, prices remained at an acceptable level. So from that point of view, the season ended well," stated Juan Enrique Ortuzar, president of the Citrus Committee.
According to the committee's data, the country exported 395,889 tons of citrus, 15.5% of which corresponds to clementines, 43.7% to mandarins, 23.7% to oranges, and 17.1% to lemons.
"The USA is our main market and it's doing well. The market has been growing in different species. It's still too early to know how it'll behave next season. Exports to the US were good this campaign. The Asian market and countries such as Japan and Korea are very important for lemons. Japan is an important market but does not grow, therefore, volumes are adjusted for the highest quality fruit. It's a very demanding market, so quality fruit is relatively limited."
Regarding this season's challenges, Ortúzar stated: "The season ended with many challenges, such as growing competition. The competition did not disappear, but we had favorable circumstances that allowed everything to end well. However, there is strong competition in the market, which means that we cannot continue to grow indefinitely. We have strong competition from the Argentine lemon, which has grown strongly. South African orange remains and Chile has enough volume for the market. Peruvian mandarins are always an important competition when we export this product. On the other hand, the drought is still a big problem. Somehow this year there was enough water to irrigate clementines, lemons, and mandarins in the fourth region. There's less water this season because it didn't rain much, so it's going to be a tricky season. It's going to be a difficult season because of the drought."
Regarding the impact of climate change this season, the Committee's chairman stated: "We are mainly affected by the drought. We still don't know how the cold spring with El Niño will impact citrus fruits."