Chilean cherry exports forecast to soar by a third
The Chilean cherry industry is forecasting gigantic growth of 36 percent for the 2020-21 season, which would bring an already well-established sector's exports to around 310,000 metric tons (MT).
The figure, which was released by the Chilean Fruit Exporter's Association (Asoex) and comes on the back of sustained growth in the industry over recent years, would be equivalent to 62 million boxes of 5 kilograms.
The vast majority of the volume is sent to the Chinese market, with a small portion sent to other markets like North America.
Asoex President Ronald Bown said the Chilean cherry industry is growing constantly in both volume and quality.
"This will be a season of challenges, mainly due to the pandemic. Because of this, the Chilean Cherry Committee has this year put its focus on the prevention of barriers with a plan to be prepared for everything that could occur, in order to be able to act as quickly as possible," he said.
He said the plan includes the launch of procedures that will allow the sector to protect the health of workers and the safety of its products.
The later date for the Chinese New Year celebrations this year - Feb. 12 - will provide more opportunities for the Chilean industry to sell their bumper crop, with market demand winding down significantly after that.
"China is an important market for our cherries, especially for the Chinese New Year, since the red color of cherries symbolizes hope and good omens, that is why they are usually the favorite to share with family, friends or as a gift," he said.
"But we also send cherries to the United States, Latin America, the Middle East, and from this season to Vietnam, a new market that is added in Asia to South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia and Burma."
Asoex will also run extensive promotions in China this year to encourage purchases of cherries.
In September we reported that some Chinese importers were being cautious ahead of the Chilean summer fruit season amid ongoing market uncertainty.