Tough weather cuts back Chilean cherry forecast

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Tough weather cuts back Chilean cherry forecast

Chilean fruit industry researcher iQonsulting has slashed the country's cherry export forecast by 22.5% down to 12.4 million boxes for the 2012-13 season, following adverse weather conditions in the country's growing regions.

In 2011 the country had exported 197 metric tons (MT) from mid-October to Oct. 28, but only 15MT were shipped during the same period in 2012, according to Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) and Chilean Export Association (ASOEX) figures.

In an exclusive with, iQonsulting director Isabel Quiroz said the season was delayed by one week, with a reduction in the forecast from what was going to be a 10% year-on-year rise in export volume. She attributed this change to hail and rain during flowering and fruit coloring, as well as a lack of winter cold.

She said the revised estimate included the expected effects of rain in the south-central region during Nov. 8-9.

"This is 22.5% less than what was originally estimated. However, this figure is aggregated at a national level and the point is that some areas are very affected, reporting losses of 100% in some cases.

One of the varieties most impacted has been Bing, which make up the majority of plantations in Chile.

"This situation implies the export dynamic will be less than what was observed during last campaign in the first and second part of the season - the period of initial and full exports from November to mid-December," Quiroz said.

"In the third part or during the decline in exports a similar behavior to last year is expected because the latest varieties have been less affected."

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