After the storm: An update on Chilean citrus exports
The revised projections, released June 30 indicate that Chile will export 348,000 tons of citrus, 30% more than last year, recovering from a low year. However, this is 3% less than the previous estimate made in May.
"The frost damage to citrus was quite limited, but there are some sectors of orchards that suffered damage, mainly in the O'Higgins region," says Juan Enrique Ortúzar, president of the Citrus Committee.
Regarding the rains, Ortúzar assures that the effect on citrus, in general, is positive, "even though harvests must be stopped for a few days, some water supply can be assured, at least for the winter when irrigation canals must be cleaned. Very specific cases of orchards suffered flooding because they were in low areas, but it was not major.”
The first estimates this April indicated an export volume for Clementines of 55,000 tons, 125,000 tons for mandarins, for oranges, 95,000 tons, and lemons 75,000 tons. In May, the mandarin volume estimate was updated to 135,000 tons. The latest projection indicates export Clementine volumes of 58,000 tons, mandarins would fall to 125,000 tons, the volume of oranges would be maintained, and lemons would also go down to 70,000 tons.
The citrus committee manager, Monserrat Valenzuela, points out that "the estimated volumes always have fluctuations caused by external factors, which have different effects each season, such as weather conditions, freight costs, logistics, and market issues, among others.” She also emphasizes "the importance of updating estimates throughout the season, informing the fluctuations that may occur in export volumes, which allows adjusting the movements of the fruit in the different destination markets.”
The citrus committee has a work plan (frost action manual) to prevent the export of frost-damaged fruit. This includes the installation of thermographs in the orchards and the temporary suspension of harvests in the affected orchards or sectors until the fruit is checked and it is confirmed that it complies with the corresponding export tolerances, says Valenzuela.
Volumes on week 25
As of week 25 (June 19 week), clementine exports accumulated 51,474 tons, which is 76% more than the same period of the 2022 season. As for mandarins, with the season just beginning, 59 tons have been exported. Shipments of oranges accumulated 11,014 tons, a value 45% higher than that exported in the same period of the previous season. Finally, the volume of lemons reached 14,287 tons, which is 5% less than the previous season.