Chile expects buoyant export growth for oranges, mandarins in 2012
Committee president Juan Enrique Ortuzar has told www.freshfruitportal.com a 35% rise is expected for easy peelers, while navel orange shipments are set to jump by 10%. Lemon exports are due for a slight fall of 2%, which Ortuzar describes as ‘insignificant’.
"More than because of increasing the surface area of plantations, the change has more to do with changes in the varieties and that the young renovated plantings are coming into bearing, meaning we have a higher volume that is exportable," he says.
"The quality of the fruit is produced to please the most demanding markets in the world; the standards of retailers and supermarkets are of the highest standard, and our objective is to always meet those standards.
He says Chile has made a push into attractive varieties such as the early orange Fukumoto, late Navels, late Lanes, Clementines and seedless W Murcott mandarins.
The U.S. now accounts for 70% of Chile's citrus shipments, Asia is the second-biggest market accounting for 15%, while Europe comes in third at 6%.
"Peru is more focused on Europe than Chile. In general for us we look to the U.S. and to Asia."
New markets and competition
Chilean authorities are currently in discussions with their counterparts in China with the goal of opening up Asia's largest market, but Ortuzar believes a deal is at least a year away yet.
"Chilean authorities are negotiating with South Korea to try and reduce those tariffs. If you can reduce tariffs then you reduce the cost of sending to Korea and our exporters will get much better returns, but we also have to focus on quality."
He says Australia and South Africa are the toughest competitors for Chile in the U.S. and Europe, while Peru is less of a concern as it has some technical difficulties in producing the varieties demanded in the U.S.
"At the moment Peru is not an issue for competitiveness and actually they are complementary for us, as they export W Murcotts to the U.S. from July to August, and Chile’s volumes are from August onwards."
Chile's citrus crops are grown mainly in the IV (Coquimbo), V (Valparaiso) and Metropolitana regions, with the first significant volumes starting in May with clementines and lemons, June for oranges, and mandarins in August.