Chilean cherry exports to rise 11%

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Chilean cherry exports to rise 11%

Chilean market researcher iQonsulting expects the country's cherry shipments to rise by 11% year-on-year to 78,000 metric tons (MT) in the 2012-13 season.

The Far East will continue to be the top market for the fruit due to its higher returns compared to the North American market.

"Cherries have been big stars during recent seasons in China. As a product they fits perfectly with the requirements of Chinese consumers - they are red, round, bright and sweet," said iQonsulting executive director Isabel Quiroz.

"For sure this season we will see a further increase due to the fact the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Feb. 10, giving more days to access with volume for the celebration of this event."

She said this gave a wider sales window for exporters, avoiding the concentration that was seen in Guangzhou five days before the last celebration.

"On the other hand, this avoids another important date being neglected, which is supplying cherries to the U.S. for their New Year celebrations, giving more days for harvesting, shipping and sales in China before Feb. 10."

She said most Chilean cherry sales for the celebration would finish on Wednesday, Feb. 6, with split arrivals between the last week of January and the first week of February.

Quiroz highlighted there were always other opportunities in other markets too such as Latin America, especially Brazil, which if demand momentum continues "could find a place for Chilean cherries".

"North America is the traditional market for Chilean cherries and has been neglected because of the better price, but it's not good business for the long term to be abandoning a market."

Quiroz said the formation of the Chilean Cherry Committee was a necessity for the industry, because it wouldn't be able keep high prices and the status of a specialty product without a specific marketing plan.

"This is the first year for the committee and we will be able to evaluate its actions at the end of the season."

Related stories: International Special Edition: Cherries from Chile

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