Peru expects China-bound mandarin exports to rise 15% in 2018
South America's leading soft citrus exporter is expecting more strong growth to China this year, although the rise is not set to be as big as 2017 when volumes rose around six-fold to 6,500 metric tons (MT).
ProCitrus general manager Sergio del Castillo told Fresh Fruit Portal that Peru has become the largest soft citrus exporter in the region by volume, and he expected it to be on par with South Africa in a few years' time.
He was these expectations were based on factors including demand from Chinese consumers, the management of the exporting companies sending shipments to Asia, and the arrival of good-quality products.
Del Castillo said: "W. Murcott is the variety which is standing out as it is traveling well, it is highly regarded, it has great flavor, and it is being welcomed by the Chinese market".
"We think we are going to continue increasing exports of these late varieties".
He said that Peru produced around 120,000MT of W. Murcott mandarins last year, and the volume exported was between 50,000-70,000MT. This year, he said that hope was to produce around 140,000 MT while aiming to export about 85,000 MT.
At present around 85% of current exports go to the U.S., The Netherlands, Europe and Canada, according to Del Castillo.
"China takes around 2% compared to Canada which takes around 9-10%, so China is still a long way behind replacing them in fourth place, but in terms of growth, it is becoming an attractive market."
His expectations are that growth will be smaller in the Chinese market this year.
"Last year we exported 6.5 million kilograms, while this year it could be around 7.5 million, so it probably won't be as big a jump as 2017 but there will be a growth of around 15%," he said.
Del Castillo said that the country's fruit and vegetable producers were looking towards the Asian market and China in particular.
"They demand the same quality as others, so the only thing we need is to have the correct varieties that are able to travel well, arriving in good quality after the long journeys," he said.