Chile's frozen raspberry volumes rose, values fell in 2011

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Chile's frozen raspberry volumes rose, values fell in 2011

Chile's frozen raspberry exports values showed a 2.5% year-on-year decrease at US$128.5 million last year due to Europe's economic crisis and the cold snap, according to a recent study.

Frozen raspberry export volumes grew by 6.2%, but total value decreased due to U.S. record production, while Europe held on to stocks and showed a preference for Serbian and Polish product, the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policy (ODEPA) report said.

"The main importers of frozen raspberries are developed countries as the product is highly dependent on the purchasing power of consumers," the report said.

European countries account for 71.6% of raspberry imports, however, in 2011 consumers preferred cheaper fruit such as apricots and peaches.

Chile's raspberry industry has grown significantly over the last four years. International Raspberry Organization figures for 2010 show 1,200 hectares devoted to raspberries with the VII (Maule) region leading the way, followed by the VIII (Biobío) and X (Los Lagos) regions.

Exports to Europe and the U.S. were significant until 2007, but declined from 2008 due to increased competition from Mexico and Spain, which had higher yields and lower transport costs.

Chile decided to focus on frozen raspberries which meant it could reach more distant markets without losing quality. About 90% of Chile's raspberry exports are frozen with Europe and the U.S. accounting for 76% of shipments, ODEPA noted.

A strong exchange rate, lack of labor and market problems have presented a number of problems for the Chilean sector in 2011-12.

Serbia, Poland, Chile and Belgium were the major frozen raspberry exporters in 2010, with Germany, France and U.S. as the main import destinations.

Eastern European countries are the largest berry exporters accounting for 63% of shipments. In 2010 they accounted for 72% of volumes with Russia, Poland and Serbia the main producers, with Chile in fourth place.

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