Early Chinese New Year causes uncertainty among Chilean cherry exporters
One of the main export challenges Chile will face in the 2022-23 cherry season is the earlier date for Chinese New Year (January 22, 2023), according to the panelists of the "Challenges of exporting to China" discussion at the Redagrícola International Conference, held at the Monticello Hotel.
The earlier date has caused many producers and exporters to wonder what will happen to the cherries that arrive after Chinese New Year.
Felipe Henríquez of Shanghai Grandfruit, pointed out that "this is the problem that we will all face, basically because of the condition and quality.
“What has happened in previous years is that the quality of the fruit has been lost due to logistical problems and delays in the arrival of the fruit to the market. So, when you have fruit in poor condition it is very difficult to try to sell it. What can we do? Try to improve the condition of the fruit.”
Meanwhile, Camilo Alvarado of importer Dalian Yidu Group, agreed that this season will probably be one of the most challenging in history and that exporters will have to work hard to ensure that shipments are made on time.
"I also believe that unfortunately, after the Chinese New Year, we will not be able to send all the fruit, so both exporters and producers must look for alternative markets, especially if we consider that this year an estimated 10,000 containers will be shipped to China," added Alvarado.
“If China does not consume cherries, what are we going to do? We have to think about diversifying markets, that is to say, try to get cherries into the USA, Korea, Taiwan,” he added.
Similarly, the representatives of the Chinese importers agreed that the key to be able to arrive before the Chinese New Year with fruit in good condition will be to find the way to arrive directly to China.
"What was done last season and will be done again, is that some containers unload in Hong Kong and can be moved to other ports, in order to have more agility and be able to move the fruit to the markets. We must be clear that the logistical problem will continue this year," said Felipe Henríquez.
With regards to the development of varieties demanded by the Chinese market, the South American manager of the importer Shanghai Grandfruit explained: "Several growers are testing new varieties. If we want to have cherries before the Chinese New Year we have to do a better job.”
“I think the limit is set by logistics, China can consume fruit, but quality fruit. The development of new varieties is aimed at the early part of the season because we have differences in the condition of the fruit in comparison to the late part of the season."