Chile has forecast a 3% drop in citrus exports for the 2019 season, with clementines responsible for the biggest decline.
The Citrus Committee of exporters’ association ASOEX said that clementine volumes would likely drop 8% and oranges by 3%. Lemon and mandarin exports are expected to be similar to last year.
However, the committee said it is expecting a “very good production ” in terms of sizing and quality thanks to favorable growing conditions.
An 8% drop in clementine exports would bring this year’s level to 58,000 metric tons (MT), down from 63,198MT last year.
Juan Enrique Ortúzar, president of the Citrus Committee, said: “After a year of high production, the flowering is sometimes less intense. In clementines, we think there will be a drop of between 5% and 10% compared to last year.”
Oranges are forecast to come in at 97,000MT, down from 99,556MT last year. “In general, the challenge is to open new markets, and this season, to harvest fruit when it is ripe, without rushing, because it’s important to maintain a good level of quality to enter into good programs,” said Ortúzar.
He said that Chilean oranges would compete with California Valencias and South African navels. “The U.S. market has been growing, but as supplies have risen the prices have been dropping. But each season has its surprise, and it’s still too early to anticipate,” he said.
Mandarins are forecast to see exports of 107,000MT, compared to 107,337 last year. This estimate comes amid high mandarin stocks in the U.S. However, Ortúzar said that “our challenge is to arrive with an impeccable product in terms of quality and size.”
Lemon exports are expected to come in at 88,000MT, compared to 88,361MT last year. Ortúzar highlighted that there was a lot of fruit in the Northern Hemisphere still from California and Spain which will create challenges for Chile.