Chilean fresh fruit exports up 7%

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Chilean fresh fruit exports up 7%

Chilean fresh fruit exports rose by 7% year-on-year between January and October 2011, according to the country's Office of Agriculture Studies and Policy (ODEPA).

Statistics show cherries had the strongest growth during the period at 58.4%, followed by plums (36.1%), blueberries (31.7%), mandarins (19%), oranges (17.2%), pears (15.6%), nectarines (13.3%), grapes (8.6%), lemons (6%) and peaches (3.7%).

The overall growth figure was brought down by export falls for some of Chile's most important fruit categories, such as apples which fell by 0.7%, avocadoes (-2.2%) and kiwifruit (-0.7%).

ODEPA attributed the rise in shipments to favorable weather during the pre-harvest and harvest periods in 2010-11, which allowed for a greater percentage of fruit with export potential.

It should also be noted that while apple exports fell this year, the fruit registered record shipments in 2010.

In terms of avocadoes, ODEPA said the start of the 2011-12 season had shown a substantial export recovery, rising 66% year-on-year to 47,200 metric tons (MT) between August and October.

Meanwhile, nut exports jumped 34.6% year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2011, driven particularly by hazelnut (with shell) growth of 124.4% and an increase in walnuts (with shell) exports of 41.6%. Shelled almond volumes grew by 27.7%.

Cultivated area

ODEPA statistics show that between 2000 and 2010, the total Chilean land surface dedicated to blueberry plantations grew by 10 times, while cherry planted area doubled.

"It should be noted that [blueberry] production grew at an average of 35% between 2005 and 2010, without majorly affecting the trading process in foreign markets, even though in recent years it has required a certain level of coordination to trade this increased volume in an orderly way," ODEPA said in a release.

"Chile has managed to position itself as the second-largest exporter of cherries, together with Turkey, and is in a privileged position of absolute leadership as a cherry supplier outside of the season of international markets."

Chile's apple sector also showed strong productivity gains during the decade, doubling its production even though the planted area remained stable.

"Apple production has experienced a growth rate of above 7% during the last decade. Similarly, the export volume has more than doubled during the 10-year period.

"The value of exported apples tripled during the decade, increasing from US$202 million in 2000 to US$624 million in 2010.

"Apple exports continue to be the second-largest generator of foreign exchange for the Chilean fruit industry. Chile has positioned itself as the world's fifth-largest fresh apple exporter."

Avocado planted area grew by 61% during the decade, reaching a similar size to the apple industry, making it the second-most planted fruit in the country.

"Significant growth is expected in the medium term due to an increase of high density plantations and the advancement of productive stages for current orchards."

Table grape plantation area grew by 17% during the decade, with steady rises during the first half and stagnation during the last five years.

"On the other hand, table grape production registered a 25% increase between 2000 and 2010 - a year in which showed a significant fall in production due to weather reasons and the earthquake in February.

"Despite this fall a significant increase in productivity per hectare has been observed, due to better cultural management and the introduction of more productive varieties, and a better performance of exportable fruit."

"Chile has managed to position itself as the world's biggest table grape exporter."

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