Chilean kiwifruit exporters to go slow on first European shipments
Chilean kiwifruit producers are bracing themselves for a tough season following news Italian volumes are expected to be up by 12% next year.
"A positive strategy for the type of season that we anticipate, would be to decentralize the first shipments of the season and try to have volumes that are distributed evenly from April until mid-September," he advised.
Chile has usually exported 60% of its crop by late May or early June, but Villegas warned this would flood the market, leading to depressed prices and a clash with Italian supply.
Italy accounts for 55% of Europe's consumption and is Chile's main competitor between May and June.
"The stock of Chilean kiwifruit early on in the season results in lower prices, softening in refrigerators and ultimately fruit which is not in good condition for sale," warned Villegas.
He said this had happened in 2009 when prices dropped significantly.
"We must be vigilant about stock levels in Europe in April and take appropriate pro-active measures," urged Villegas.
He said it would be a good idea for the industry to have a greater presence in the second half of the season especially as New Zealand is expected to have lower production due to Psa-V.
It is estimated New Zealand's production of the Gold variety is to drop by 30% and Hayward by more than 10%.
"If we arrive at the right time these lower volumes could offset our increased supply. I think this situation can be handled in a positive way if the industry takes an appropriate strategy."