Chilean fruit exports over the 2018-19 season have notched a 10% year-on-year increase, with shipments to other Latin American countries soaring to position to market as the number-two destination over the period.
Total fruit exports from Sept 1 until May 22 totaled 2.3 million metric tons (MT), according to the Chilean Fruit Exporters' Association (Asoex).
The U.S. remained the leading export market, with fruit exports rising by 7% to 611,000MT, giving the market a 26.5% share.
But while exports to the Far East continued they upward curve, rising by 7% to 584,000MT - representing 24.3% of the total - shipments to Latin America fractionally overtook them, with exports to that market rising by 66% to 585,000MT - a 24.4% share.
In fourth position was Europe, to which fruit exports fell by 16% to 420,000MT. Meanwhile, fruit exports to the Middle East were flat at 62,000MT and to Canada they fell by 3% to 43,000MT.
Table grapes lead the pack
The main fruit exported over the period was table grapes with 651,000MT, with the U.S. as the main market, receiving a little under half of the total shipments. In second place came apples at 419,000MT, shipped mainly to Latin America.
Kiwifruit was third with 322,000MT, shipped mainly to Latin America, and fourth were cherries at 180,000MT, shipped almost in their entirety to China.
In fifth position were plums with 155,000MT, shipped mainly to Asia, and in sixth were avocados with 143,000MT, with Europe as the main destination.
Commenting on the 10% growth over the nine-month period, Asoex president Ronald Bown attributed the strong performance to better growing conditions than in previous years.
"This increase also reflects new fruit plantations entering into production, with a varietal reconversion that is coming along really well for certain fruits like table grapes," he said.
"It's also thanks to the implementation of new technologies by the industry with the aim of improving production and achieving better quality fruit for the destination markets."
Asoex reported in January that total fruit exports in 2018 had risen by 11% to 2.9 million metric tons (MT).