The Chilean Cherry Committee has increased its export forecast for the 2019-20 season, which had already been expected to see record volumes.
The organization is now expecting a year-on-year rise of 16.7% from 180,000 metric tons (MT) to 210,000MT. This is up slightly from the previous forecast of 209,000MT.
Even earlier in the season, the Committee had forecasted volumes of 220,000MT. But shortly thereafter it decreased its estimates slightly due to frosts.
According to the Chilean Fruit Exporter's Association (ASOEX) president Ronald Bown, total exports will be around 42m boxes equivalent to 5kg each.
The industry said that the season's exports were off to a slower start than anticipated. That being said, it stressed that exports have been developing at a normal pace.
The Chinese market
This season the Chilean cherry industry is investing US$5m in promotions in China - which last year received 88% of its exports.
Marketing for this season will continue emphasizing sales during the Chinese New Year as the industry rolls out its "Cherries from Chile" campaign.
The first flight carrying Chilean cherries arrived with 100MT of fruit on Nov. 21 in the city of Ningbo in eastern China. The first two ships of the season have already set sail.
Although the largest volumes of cherries will be available in the market after the Chinese New Year celebration on Jan. 25, the industry is "adjusting its promotional efforts" to reflect this. It plans on providing fruit for a "post-celebration" while also supplying what it can during the holiday time.
Regarding these promotional efforts, Bown commented that these provide exporters with both an opportunity and a challenge. Due to the fruit's popularity in China, Chilean exporters are looking for ways to provide the market with sufficient cherries.
Overall, Chilean fruit exporters are "optimistic for the current season", explained the release.
It also detailed that the Chilean government expects that exports will reach more than US$1.2bn.