More Chilean apples going to domestic market in 2012
A Chilean fruit industry analyst expects a higher volume of apples to go to the domestic market this year, with high temperatures affecting the exportability of many lots.
iQonsulting executive director Isabel Quiroz tells www.freshfruitportal.com temperatures were 5°C above average during heatwaves in January and March, which affected fruit consistency in some orchards.
"The problem is that many lots had to be discarded, as the high temperatures aged the fruit quicker, leading to more physical pressure that affected consistency," she says.
"The fact that shipments have been lower is a sign that the industry is rigorous when it comes to consistency; the volumes are there but a lot were cut earlier and will go to the domestic market."
From January to May 23, the Chilean Office of Agricultural Studies and Policy (ODEPA) show a total export volume of 329,370 metric tons (MT) at a value of US$244.7 million.
This compares to a volume of 410,570MT and value of US$314.7 million from January through to the end of May in 2011.
Quiroz says the heat issues occured from the Metropolitana region through to the VI (O'Higgins), VII (Maule) and VIII (Biobío) regions, while the relatively new producing areas of the IX (Araucania) and X (Los Lagos) regions had better conditions.
She says the level of controlled atmosphere has been the same this year as last year.
However, one source that asked not to be named alleged the fall in exports was due to Chilean companies putting higher stocks in controlled atmosphere storage, in a bid to get better prices.