The estimate was given by Chilean Walnut Commission executive director Andrés Rodríguez, who said the forecast was supported by a lack in major frosts in the spring and adequate temperatures that allowed for a good flowering stage.
The harvest is set to take place across March and April.
The growth figures are not only significant for the short-term – Rodríguez said industry volumes are expected to double over the next five years as new plantings come into production.
The planted surface area in 2017 stands at 43,662 hectares, but only 60% of that land is estimated to be under full production.
Last year US$93.4 million of in-shell walnuts were exported, with Turkey, Italy and the United Arab Emrites being the main destinations. US$137.7 million of shelled walnuts were exported in the same year, with Brazil, Germany and Italy receiving the greatest volumes.