Agronometrics in Charts: Price hikes in sight for cherries
Chilean cherry shipments to the United States are currently underway; total export volumes are expected to drop this year due to challenging growing conditions during the winter. The beginning of the season was affected by adverse weather conditions, marked by heavy rainfall that specifically impacted the earlier cherry varieties.
The lower supplies are expected to result in an overall reduction of approximately 30% in shipments to the U.S. compared to the figures of the previous year. In the previous season, Chile successfully dispatched approximately 3.3 million boxes of cherries to the U.S. So far In the current season, the received quantity stands at approximately 1.8 million boxes, with a conservative total projection of about 2.3 million for this season.
This year marks a notable departure from the industry's historical trends, as it is the first time in many years that the Chilean cherry industry anticipates an overall decline in global cherry exports. “This is difficult to comprehend because if you start to look at all the new plantings coming into production in Chile, they should be growing exponentially even with some weather issues,” says Evan Myers, Managing Director of Forever Fresh.
“Up until Chinese New Year on February 10, there is no single market that will pay as much for cherries as China does. The US and European markets can never match the prices paid by the Chinese market and as a result, virtually all fruit is expected to be shipped to China this season. In a normal year, Chile ships 70 to 80 percent of its cherries to China, but that number is expected to be closer to 85 or 90 percent this season,” says an industry source. Prices in week 1 stood at $10.6 per kg, reflecting a 70% surge in comparison to the figures recorded in 2023. Further hikes could be expected over the coming weeks, driven by the escalating deficit in volumes, which is becoming increasingly apparent.