Chile’s apple exporters have expressed concern that the heatwave experienced in the central valley over recent weeks could affect the fruit’s condition and post-harvest life.
However, overall they are expecting a fairly similar season to last year with a slight increase in production and exports
Some of the hottest weather on record has scorched large areas of Chile recently and could lead to sunburn and shorter storage life, according to industry sources.
Ricardo Gatti, manager of pome fruit and cherries at Unifrutti, said the company would start to harvest around weeks 7 or 8.
“We’ll have to see what happens until then because we are seeing some very high temperatures and we might have issues with the condition of the fruit,” he said.
The heatwave could lead to a lower proportion of fruit reaching export quality standards, he said.
Raimundo Costa, general manager of San Clemente, said storage life may be an issue for Chilean apples in 2019.
However, they both said that expectations were for around a 10% year-on-year increase in production this year and highlighted there would be larger volumes of newer varieties.
Rodrigo Durán, commercial manager of David Del Curto, said his company was forecasting a rise in volumes of Ambrosia apples, which he said have been very successful in various markets.
Gatti said that Unifrutti was also expecting larger volumes of newer varieties – as young orchards continue to mature – which he expected would drive a 10% overall rise in the company’s volumes.