Chile: ASOEX forecasts "similar" fruit export volumes in 2015-16
A warmer winter, a wetter spring and other isolated weather events may inhibit Chile's ability to surpass last season's fresh fruit shipment volumes.
In a release, the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) said the volume exported to different markets in 2015-16 would likely be similar to the 2.399 million metric tons (MT) shipped in the previous campaign.
It is worth noting 2014-15 exports were up only 1.35% on the 2013-14 campaign, which was wracked by disastrous frosts.
ASOEX clarified it was too early to give an exact estimate for this summer campaign, but had made its initial forecast after analyzing an "Agroclimatic Report" carried out by the Fruit Industry Development Foundation (FDF).
The FDF study looked at data from 250 meteorological stations from across the country, and was developed by the network Agroclima.cl.
ASOEX highlighted rainfall from Jan. 1 to Oct. 19 was significantly greater year-on-year, with the exception of the south but this was not expected to be a problem.
"The Coquimbo region was being hit by an extreme drought for three or four years; today, due to the rainfall and snow events it can be affirmed that water reserves could satisfy the demands of the current and next seasons," said ASOEX president Ronald Bown.
In terms of cold hours with a base of 7°C (44.6°F) accumulated from May 1 to August 31, the report said they were the lower year-on-year in the Atacama and Coquimbo regions, leading to uneven flowering.
However, ASOEX emphasized there had been uniformity in other regions.
Probably the best news from the report is that there were "practically" no frosts during the period analyzed, with the exception of a few specific cases that weren't serious.
Bown said weather events of different magnitudes had impacted certain regions, including snow, hail and rain.
"There are fruit losses in some localities due to hail, but they are restricted to those places only. The same happened with the snow in the high areas of Elqui," he said.
"That's why a quantitative-based forecast is not possible yet, as the adverse climatic situation could have different effects that are not yet measurable.
"Visually in some fruit trees a lower load is observed, however it is very early still to indicate how fruit sizes will be. In general terms, a significant increase in fruit exports is not expected."