Chile forecasts big rise in soft citrus exports this season
Chile has forecast total citrus exports of 353,000 metric tons (MT) this season, an 8% rise driven entirely by big increases in soft citrus volumes that more than offset expected declines in oranges.
The country's Citrus Committee said on Thursday it was estimating a 24% rise in mandarins, a 21% increase in clementines, flat lemons volumes, and a 13% decrease in orange exports.
The volume forecast for mandarins and clementines is 115,000MT and 61,000MT respectively. The year-on-year increase in volumes of both categories is due to new plantings made over the last 10 years.
"It's estimated that around 600 hectares have been planted annually and that the surface area is higher than 9,000 hectares," Citrus Committee president Juan Enrique Ortuzar said.
Meanwhile, the decline in orange volumes to 87,000MT is due to a decline in surface area over recent years, he said. Many growers have been opting to either regraft or plant other crops.
Lemon exports are expected to come in at 90,000MT.
As for how citrus exports could be affected in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ortuzar said: "It's too early to hazard a guess as to what the impact of this highly complex situation could be."
"The domestic market and the global market need to maintain fruit supplies," he said, adding that demand has been strong for citrus fruit known to contain high levels of vitamin C.