Chilean cherry 2021-22 season: record shipments impeded by logistical issues
The Chilean Cherry Committee of the country’s exporters association ASOEX published final figures for the 2021-22 season, which reached a record level just ahead of the previous seasons, but marred with logistical issues en route to its destination.
According to figures published by the association, Chilean exporters shipped 356,385 tons of cherries, a new record which was 1.11 percent above the previous year.
Asia was the main destination for shipments, receiving 91.3 percent of all exports, or 325,488 tons. A drop of 1.11 percent in shipments to China led to a slight overall decrease to shipments to the region compared to the previous season.
Shipments to nearly all other regions increased: the U.S. received 13,876 tons a 177 percent increase, Latin America saw a 21 percent increase to 6,504 tons and Europe’s shipments grew 29 percent to reach 6,254 tons. The Middle East received 274 tons of Chilean cherries, a 18 percent drop compared to the previous year.
The ASOEX president Ronald Bown said that the association’s Cherry Committee prepared for a “challenging season, conscious of the huge obstacles that were coming ahead, from sanitary uncertainty, a tight logistical scenario, a lack of labor, among other challenges”.
Also commenting in the statement, and echoing his presentation made last week during the Global Cherry Summit, the Cherry Committee president Cristián Tagle said that the start of the season looked good, and highlighted that there was a greater diversification of shipments going to destinations apart from China.
“It shows that creating consensus on criteria within the quality commission of the Committee is bearing fruits”, but added that external shocks then started to generate negative effects, as did an increase of inspection of fruit in China, which caused an increase in time to market. The majority of the fruit was sold between 40 to 60 days following its harvest.
Despite the negative effects at the end of the season, The Cherry Committee believes that the overall result was positive, but with large deviations within the results depending on the variety in terms of quality
Finally, Tagle highlighted a greater diversity in other destinations past China, which increased overall participation by 3 percent and absorbed 2.4 million additional boxes of fruit.
Looking forward, he said that the industry needs to moderate its expectations for returns compared to what was achievable 3 to 4 years ago, and that alternatives to China, especially after its New Years, can pay competitive prices for cherries if quality is maintained.