Chilean cherry sales 'not significantly affected' by coronavirus, says Fedefruta
Chilean cherry sales in China have not suffered any major consequences from the recent outbreak of coronavirus, according to an industry representative.
The outbreak over the last couple of weeks has led to tens of millions of Chinese being put under lockdown, amid at least 170 deaths reported and around 6,000 people infected in the country.
The situation was intensifying just as the Chinese New Year celebrations - the biggest sales period for Chilean cherries - were approaching.
"We have closely followed the evolution of Chilean cherry sales in China, and at this time we can say that so far we have not seen significant effects in the sales of this fruit due to coronavirus," said Jorge Valenzuela, president of the Chilean Federation of Fruit Growers (Fedefruta).
"The bulk of the exports had already been sent or sold before the Chinese authorities took measures to suspend the Chilean New Year celebrations and put citizens in quarantine, and so far we have observed good prices this season for Chilean cherries. Demand has been consistent, due to the size of the country and the quality of our fruit."
He went onto say that the good logistics cold chain has helped the fruit to arrive in good condition.
The industry is expecting to see total exports this season in excess of 200,000 metric tons (MT), up from 180,000MT in the 2018-19 campaign.
"Now we are looking at how prices could be affected these days with all the sanitary measures in place to stop the spread of the virus, but until now we have not seen behavior that makes us think we'll have problems," he said.
"Lastly, we want to sign that we have a very important relationship with China not only in terms of trade, but also in terms of trust thanks to our cultural exchange that becomes especially apparent during this time of Chinese New Year.
"We send a fraternal greeting to the whole country, and hope that the situation can return to normal as soon as possible."