Chilean grape and pome fruit production forecast down due to weather issues - USDA report
Chilean production and export of table grapes, apples and pears are all expected to fall this year, according to a USDA report.
Moderate temperatures and unexpected rainfall during the summer months ultimately led to decreased yields, it said.
The intense rainfall affected table grape crops the most, with production and exports declining by about 21 percent during the 2020-21 marketing year, totaling 615,000 metric tons (MT) and 475,000MT respectively.
Apple production will reach 1,095,000MT, a 4.8 percent decrease, and exports 647,000MT, a two percent decrease year-on-year.
Pear production and exports are going to see a 9.1 percent decline to 200,000MT and an 8.6 percent decline to 106,000MT, respectively.
Chile's table grape planted area totaled 45,489 hectares (ha), an almost five percent decline over the 2019-20 season.
This decrease in area planted and the unexpected rainfall between 25mm and 70mm in various areas, impacted the table grapes during a critical point in their season.
Considering the damage, a 22 percent decrease year-on-year is estimated for exports. The U.S. remains the main market for Chilean table grape exports accounting for 46 percent of the total, seeing a 6.7 percent drop over marketing year 2018-19.
China is the second top market for Chilean table grapes and saw a 5.1 percent increase from marketing year 2018-10. During the 2019-20 season, exports to the Netherlands and the UK grew by 17.9 percent and eight percent, respectively.
Data from the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture’s Office of Agricultural Studies and Policy (ODEPA) confirms the declining trend in Chilean table grape exports.
Winter and spring conditions were favorable for apple production, moderate temperatures during the summer and the rainfall in late January and reduced labor availability reduced the potential for higher yields.
Following the decrease in production, exports to the U.S. dropped by 33.8 percent in the 2019-20 season because of increased available supplies in the U.S. market.
January and February 2021 data shows Chilean apple exports declined by 25 percent in volume and 20.6 percent in value over the same period in 2020, totaling 10,404 MT and $9.5 million.
Though the Chilean apple harvest and export process is advancing at a slower rate than last year, the data for the first two months is not enough to identify a decreasing trend.
The reduction of pears is due to lower planted areas during the 2020-21 season and a fall in yields due to cooler temperatures in the summer.
Additionally, the 2020-21 pear harvest slowed down due to the reduced availability of workers, which decreased productivity and increased production costs for farmers.
In the 2020-21 season, Chile’s pear exports dropped by 21.1 percent in volume year-on-year, totaling 12,561MT and $13 million.