Chile's 2017-18 cherry exports may exceed previous record by 10 million boxes

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Chile's 2017-18 cherry exports may exceed previous record by 10 million boxes

The Chilean cherry industry has already shipped more than 30 million boxes of cherries this year, well and truly popping an "historical barrier" of just over 20 million boxes for the sector.

In a release, Chilean Cherry Committee president Cristian Tagle said with fruit now on the water en route to global markets, volume would easily surpass the previous 21.7 million-box record set in 2014-15.

"Until last week we had more than 27 million boxes exported, but with the ship that was loaded last weekend the industry surpassed 30 million boxes, an equivalent of more than 150,000 [metric] tons (MT) of cherries," Tagle said.

"We estimate that Chilean cherries will supply the Chinese market beyond Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated on Feb. 16," he said.

Chile is set to host the inaugural Global Cherry Summit on April 25. Stay tuned for more details coming soon. 

Tagle said the record was possible thanks to better weather conditions, particularly at the start of the season, as well as the efforts of growers and exporters that have led to an increased planting area, and the adoption of newer and more productive varieties with better flavor and post-harvest characteristics.

Additionally, the boost has been supported by the implementation of new technologies that allow for better orchard management and protection. 

Chilean Fruit Exporters Association president Ronald Bown said the industry was arriving at a record that had been planned for a long time with intensive and significant promotional campaigns.

"It's very good news that we're already prepared and investing to strengthen the consumption of these high volumes which are a reality, especially with actions in China, the main market for Chilean cherries," Bown said. 

Bown also pointed to a US$5 million public-private promotional investment campaign organized by the committee, a sub-division of ASOEX, as well as ProChile.

"We are looking to raise consumption of Chilean cherries, especially before and after the Chinese New Year festivities, and position the brand 'Cherries from Chile' in the minds of consumers," he said.

He said marketing activities in China included tastings in 306 sales points, e-commerce promotions and campaigns on digital platforms like WeChat and Weibo. In addition, there will be advertising in subway stations, residential elevators, cell phone apps and in wholesale markets, among other locations.





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