Chilean apple season to see 'normal' volumes, smaller sizes

More News Today's Headline
Chilean apple season to see 'normal' volumes, smaller sizes

Chile's apple season this year is expected to see normal volumes but cold weather last spring is likely to result in smaller sizes, according to the country's incoming agriculture minister Antonio Walker. 

Walker, an agronomic technician and pome fruit producer who was chosen by President-elect Sebastian Piñera for the government post, said cold temperatures late last year would have affected cell division.

He said the most likely result of this is that the fruit sizing will be smaller than normal. However, he expected total production volumes to be "normal".

The World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) recently forecast Chilean apple volumes to rise 5% year-on-year to 1.76 million metric tons (MT) - putting it on par with figures from the past decade.

"From the production point of view the volume is looking pretty good. We are expecting sizing to be a little bit smaller than last year because the chemical thinning did not have the effect we had hoped for as we didn't have the right weather conditions," he said.

Another factor that Walker said would affect the season are Northern Hemisphere stocks, which he said were "quite high", but added consumption levels were good.

As of Feb. 1, U.S. apple stocks were 12% higher year-on-year, but European volumes are down as a result of severe frosts last year.

"The apples that are in storage in the Northern Hemisphere are also of a small sizes compared to the last five years, which means there should be a marked difference for the large sizes in terms of price," he said.

"China is also the most important [North American production country]. Europe has a smaller harvest from the five-year-average and the U.S. has a normal harvest too."

Walk also mentioned the international prices for a gallon of apple juice were currently higher than last year on the back of a smaller crop from Europe, especially Poland.

He added high juice prices "always help because it's easy money, it's paid in 30 days."


Subscribe to our newsletter