Chile cherry exports could double in 2010-11, USDA says
Estimates call for production to reach as much as 68,900 metric tons, or 13.5 million cases. That would be double the 6.7 million cases shipped last season. A more conservative estimate forecast 53,400 MT in 2010-11.
Much of the extra yield would go to China, where demand has been rising steadily. Imports to the big Asian market were 22% in 2008-09 and 42% in 2009-10. Exports are expected to increase as the peak of the season coincides with Chinese New Year.
The surge in productivity can be attributed to sufficient cold hours accumulated during the unusually cold winter (June to August), which has led to better flowering. Orchards with more productive varieties planted in 2004 and 2005 are coming into or have arrived at full production stage, the report said.
Spring rain and labor shortages could hinder the exports, the report said. Rain in central Chile on Nov. 7 caused slight damage to cherries, according to Chilean fruit consultancy iQonsulting. Labor shortages last season hurt production, the USDA said, and they same situation could affect this season’s harvest, the USDA said.
Labor for harvesting and processing and fruit has faced a shortage since many of it's traditional labor force is employed in the reconstruction effort, needed as a result of the February earthquake.