Chilean Walnut Guide

Published Sep 6, 2021

Customs & Tariffs

What Are the Main Customs & Tariffs Applied in the Most Common Markets for Chilean Walnuts?

In 2021 India increased the import tariff on walnuts (shelled and in-shell) from 30% to 100%. Despite the increase, India is still the largest destination for Chilean Walnuts.

Production Supply Chain

How are Walnuts Produced in Chile?

Walnuts are grown in cool climatic conditions. Temperatures above 38° C can lead to lower yields and shriveled kernels. However, trees also do not do well in areas prone to frost, and temperatures below -2° C can damage trees. Walnuts prefer sandy-loam soils.

Walnut seedlings are produced through seeds or grafted onto rootstocks. When grafting walnuts, rootstocks that are adapted to the region where walnuts will be planted are important.

Once seedlings are ready to be transplanted the soil is prepared and seedlings are planted at 200-300 trees per hectare.

Trees are irrigated under drip irrigation. Orchards are kept clean and weed-free to reduce the instance of pests and diseases. Trees are fumigated periodically against insects, especially moths and mites.

Walnut trees that were grafted can start bearing fruit in as little as two years after planting, however, trees only start producing on a commercial level at 5 years or older. Trees grown from seeds will take longer to produce.

The walnut harvest takes place between March and May. It is crucial to harvest walnuts at the right time. If walnuts are harvested too late, the quality will deteriorate and there is an increased risk of fungal infections. From a technical point of view, the best way to harvest nuts is through the use of a mechanical shaker. 

How is the Supply Network Structure for Chilean Walnuts?

After walnuts are harvested, they are transported to so-called packhouses. This can be done directly or through intermediaries.

Generally, walnuts are stored at these packhouses and processed according to orders.

Once packhouses receive an order, the nuts are packaged and processed according to the specifications and transported to the ports for export.

Trade Overview

Who Are the Main Exporters of Walnuts?

In 2021, the US exported USD 382 million worth of shelled walnuts (116,919 mt), China exported USD 237 million (104,330 mt), Chile exported USD 230 million (81,964 mt), France exported USD 78 million (21,444 mt), and Mexico USD 71 million (15,336 mt).  

In 2021, the US exported USD 869 million worth of shelled walnuts (148,076 mt), Mexico exported USD 507 million (51,210 mt), Chile exported USD 238 million (32,848 mt), China exported USD 229 million (49,876 mt), and Germany USD 121 million (16,346 mt). Germany is a gateway for walnuts into Europe, and also imports large volumes of walnuts. 

Who are the Main Importers of Chilean In-shell and Shelled Walnuts?

Chile's total walnut exports (in-shell and shelled combined), were USD 468.02 million. The value of exports of in-shell walnuts was USD 230.42 million, and of shelled walnuts was USD 237.61 million.

The top destinations for Chilean walnuts (in-shell and shelled combined) according to the value of exports in 2021 were:

  • India, USD 61.53 million
  • Germany, USD 53.60 million
  • Italy, USD 51.69 million
  • Türkiye, 50.68 million
  • Spain, 36.29 million

Main Varieties

What Are the Common Types or Varieties Exported of Chilean Walnuts?

Key varieties: Serr, Howard, Chandler, Vina, Sunland, Hartley, Eureka, and Tulare.

1) In-Shell Walnuts

Type: Bleached or natural

Size Categories: Measured according to the diameter of the walnut in mm






2) Shelled Walnuts

Type: Industrial or semi machine cracked



-Halves & Pieces

-Large pieces (up to 13 mm)

-Medium Pieces (9.5 – 13 mm)

-Small Pieces (4.5-9.5 mm)


-Extra Light


-Light Ambar

Packing Size:

-10 kg bag per carton (Halves)

-12 kg bag per carton (Large Pieces)

-14 kg bag per carton (Small & Medium Pieces)

Seasonality of Main Producing Regions

Where Are the Main Producing Regions and Seasonality of Chilean Walnuts?

Chile's walnut-producing regions range from Valparaísoin the North, to Maule in the South. The production regions are as follows:

Metropolitana, 16,430 ha, 38% of the total area,

O'Higgins, 7,786 ha, 18% of the total area,

Maule, 7,008 ha, 16% of the total area,

Valparaíso, 7,003 ha, 16% of the total area,

Coquimbo, 2,145 ha, 5% of the total area,

Ñuble, 1,498 ha, 3% of the total area,

Biobío, 1,426 ha, 3% of the total area,

Others, 438 ha, 1% of the total area,

The harvest season starts mid-April and coincides with the In-shell export season. For shelled walnuts the export season starts slightly later after nuts are processed.

Export Season (High Season):

In-shell (raw): Mid-April – August

Shelled (kernels): May - August

The key advantage of Chilean Walnuts is that their seasonality is the reverse of that of California and other Northern Hemisphere producers.


Regulations in Exporting Country

What Are the Export Regulations for Chilean Walnuts?

Packhouses and growers must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture's Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG). The production and packing process must be supervised by SAG to ensure the product is free of insects, mites, other pests, branches, roots, dirt, and other foreign material that can carry pests.

Exports must be labeled correctly, and contain information on the place of production, address of the packing house, registration number, and batch number.

Required Documents

What Are the Required Documents for Chilean Walnuts?

The most important documents required for exports are:

  • Phytosanitary certificates
  • Fumigation certificates
  • The grower code for exports
  • The packhouse code for exports
  • The export contract
  • Invoices

Quality Control/Certification

What Is the Quality Check Process for Chilean Walnuts?

Importing countries have their own regulations and quality checks for walnuts, but in nearly all cases the following is applicable:

Walnuts must be considered safe to eat, and pesticide residues, mycotoxins, and other contaminants must be below the levels set by importing countries.

Walnuts are susceptible to mold, especially damaged kernels. Fungal infections (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) could also occur. Walnuts bound for export must be free of mold and fungal infections.

The applicable certificates, as set out by importing countries, must accompany walnut exports.

General Product Introduction

How is the market landscape for in-shell walnuts?

Global Market

Global Market Size: $6 B (2020)

-12% increase in market size compared to previous year

-Expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2021-2025 at 3.1% CAGR 

Export Market

US: 415 M

Chile: 177 M

China: 169 M

Mexico: 94 M

France: 66 M

Turkey: 43 M

Australia: 11 M

Import Market

Mexico: 151 M

Turkey: 142 M

Italy: 119 M

UAE: 93 M

India: 57 M

Spain: 37 M

Germany: 36 M 


-Chile exported 90% more nuts in 2021 Q1 compared to that of the previous year

-Chile’s production increased in Q1 2021 due to increase in planted area, favorable weather conditions, and a rebound in demand for nuts

-India is becoming a large importer of walnuts; increased from only 215 tons imported in 2013 to 23 thousand tons in 2020

By clicking “Accept Cookies,” I agree to provide cookies for statistical and personalized preference purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our Privacy Policy.