Chile’s 2020-21 cherry campaign: Challenges and strategies

Chile’s 2020-21 cherry campaign: Challenges and strategies

Representatives of the Chilean cherry industry have spoken about the logistical challenges involved in the season, the uncertainty generated by Covid-19, and the work strategy for mobilizing the fruit in what will be a historic campaign

Chile estimates an almost 36 percent growth in exports with shipments of more than 62 million five-kilo boxes.

Ignacio Caballero, the Director of Marketing at ASOEX, told FreshFruitPortal.com that this year’s large volume is attributable to an increase in cherry plantations and orchards that are beginning production with excellent weather conditions.

In this context, concerning the potential risk of oversupply, he commented that such a possibility always exists when there is a rise in volume.

“But ASEOX and its cherry committee are working to be prepared for this large volume with promotional campaigns which will accelerate consumption,” Caballero said.

He added: "This season, we will be implementing campaigns in China, South Korea, the United States, Brazil, India, Thailand, and Vietnam; this last market will have its first season of Chilean cherries."

Logistics

Regarding the topic of logistics and if the sector is prepared to manage this large volume, Caballero said that for now they are hoping that everything will go as predicted.

“If there are challenges, we will work to solve them as soon as possible,” he said.

“At any rate, companies are making investments in packing lines to absorb the growing supply. Similarly, shipping companies are reinforcing ship availability so that they can be prepared for the large volume."

To this, Claudio Vial, general manager of Ranco Cherries, added: “As long as there are available containers and ports, the logistics are ready,”

“It  is undeniably always a challenge to administer the growths that happen every year, but it at least seems that everything is prepared,” he said.

Chinese New Year, an important date for the cherry industry, falls on Feb 12 this season.

For this reason, Vial said, there will be more time to cultivate the fruit and sell it in the Chinese market, the most important one for Chile.

He also remarked, however, even if everything is well-planned and there is the availability needed to move the volumes they are projecting, issues with Covid-19 in destination ports could still cause delays.

“But, for today, the logistics are prepared,” Vial said

Challenges

Vial also spoke of the challenges that the campaign could have, which includes the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and everything that involves.

The industry cautious about what could happen in destination markets, as there could be events that would affect the sale of fruit. 

Caballero also spoke about campaign challenges and likewise felt there was a high level of uncertainty this season.

“We have the effects of Covid-19  both in Chile and around the world. It is for this reason that ASOEX and its cherry committee have prepared preventative measures as much as possible,”  

He explained that they are implementing Covid-19 protocols in the sector at the level of orchards and packing centers. 

Additionally, Caballero added, they are working on a plan to identify potential problems that could emerge both in Chile and in destination markets. 

“For this season we need the help of all actors within the private sector as well as the public one, to be able to have a good season despite all the existing uncertainty,”

 He also expressed the hope that “promotion campaigns will be a key tool in being able to diminish information disparities and have a good season despite the difficulties,”

Caballero asserted that the industry is more united than ever before.

“We have increased the number of companies associated with ASOEX’s cherry committee, bringing the total up to 69,” he said.