Chilean apple and pear trade to decrease on lower yields

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Chilean apple and pear trade to decrease on lower yields

The Chilean apple and pear sectors are looking at a decrease in production for 2024, with lower yields causing a drop in exports, a USDA report said.

The country’s apple production is projected at 860,000 metric tons (MT), which would represent a 1.1% decrease year-on-year. Consequently, exports are expected to decrease by 1.3%, totaling 463,000 metric tons. 

Last year, apple harvest was delayed by around two weeks due to a rise in temperatures that caused an insufficient accumulation of chilling hours during the winter. Additionally, planted area decreased in all Chilean apple-producing regions, according to the latest data from ODEPA. 

The Maule and O’Higgins regions in south-central Chile, which comprise 84% of the total apple-planted area, saw a drop in bearing acreage as many producers have orchards with less profitable, old varieties.

For the marketing year 2023-24 and as per data, until March, Chilean apple exports decreased by 34% compared to the 2022-23 season and totaled 36,545 metric tons

In 2023, Chile was the main fresh apple provider to the United States, accounting for 59% of U.S. apple imports. This was a 9,3% decrease year-on-year, according to iQonsulting’s 2024 apple yearbook.

Related articles: Chilean apples to supply U.S. market during spring

As for pears, Chilean production is estimated to be down by 4.8% to 200,000 MT. Similarly to apple production, higher than normal temperatures and low accumulation of chilling hours during the winter delayed harvest and the beginning of the export season in 2023-24. 

Pear area planted has been on a decreasing trend since 2016 due to low margins. The fruit is challenging to produce and export due to its delicate flesh and consequent special handling needs. 

Due to the lower production volume, the USDA estimates Chilean pear exports to decrease by 4.7%, totaling 100,000 metric tons. Exports until March decreased by 18.3%, totaling 33,805 metric tons.

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