Argentina expecting good cherry season despite frosts
Argentina is expecting a good upcoming cherry season, with some production areas now in the flowering stage and others with fruit set.
The country is anticipating exports of around 5,000 metric tons (MT) according to Aníbal Caminiti, executive manager of the Argentine Chamber of Integrated Cherry Producers (CAPCI).
That figure would be slightly higher than last year's 4,600MT. However, Caminiti said there may be some adjustments to the forecast due to recent frosts in some production areas.
"In general the campaign looks good," he said.
"We have had some severe frosts that affected Mendoez and the regions of Rio Negro and Neuquen. They were intense frosts, [but] the damages are not that significant. We expect to have some more severe frosts over the coming days."
This season he expects Argentine companies to ship larger volumes to the Chinese market, which opened for the South American country's cherries last year.
"We have high expectations for the cherry industry there because it's a really good cherry market. If we had 10 times the number of cherries, were would surely be sending them there," he said.
The production levels will rise over the coming years as new trees come into production.
"There are lots of expansion projects, [and] new projects that will be incorporated," he said.
Another Asian market, Thailand, also recently opened for Argentina cherries, and volumes are expected to ramp up to that destination in the coming years.
Despite high expectations for new markets, Caminiti said that Argentina would continue supplying its clients in traditional markets like the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
Around two-thirds of Argentine cherries are exported via air freight, helping to achieve a good quality upon arrival in the markets.
Caminiti also explained that while the Argentine cherry sector remains modest in terms of total volumes, expectations are very high for the future of the industry.