The Chilean cherry industry is gearing up for an impressive 2023/24 season, with high hopes pinned on exports to China. The Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), representing over 85% of Chilean cherry exports worldwide, has released its initial estimate, projecting the export of a record-breaking 95 million boxes of cherries in this new season.
This ambitious estimate indicates a 15% increase compared to the previous season, reflecting Chile's determination to regain its foothold in the market. Chile has faced fierce competition from Peru's rapidly expanding cherry sector, but now, it's turning to new cherry varieties to assert its dominance. These new and exciting cherry varieties will comprise a whopping 63% of the total cherry exports this season.
The 2023/24 Chilean cherry season promises to offer a substantial volume, enhanced quality, and an improved product for the Chinese consumer, who remains the primary target market. The quantity is indeed substantial, but it's essential to remember that, due to the variable climatic conditions, this data may fluctuate as the season unfolds. However, one thing is certain - Chile will continue to send cherries of exceptional quality, size, and flavor to consumers worldwide, particularly in China.
Source: Tridge Transaction Data Services
The increased production of new cherry varieties is the driving force behind this remarkable growth. It is estimated that nearly 40 million boxes of these new varieties will be exported this season, signifying a significant shift in the country's cherry industry.
The season’s peak is projected to occur in week 51. This timing aligns well with the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 10, 2024, offering the cherry sector more time to make shipments and alleviate the pressure experienced during the previous year when the holiday arrived earlier in January.
As the seasons progress, it is expected that Chile's cherry production and exports will continue to rise, with more cherry trees going into production over the next four years. By the 2026/27 season, Chile's cherry production is expected to reach a staggering 851,000 metric tons (mt), doubling the volume from the 2021/22 season. Export volumes are projected to reach 715,000 mt, setting another record for the industry.
Chile's unique geography, stretching from Santiago to Los Angeles, provides a large productive area with diverse microclimates and protected regions in the Central Valley, ensuring some stability in production. The country has also increased its varietal offerings over the years, enhancing production security with self-fertile varieties such as Santina and Lapins while expanding the area protected against frost and rain.
To effectively promote sales in China, ASOEX has conducted visits to various cities and held workshops to inform industry representatives about the upcoming promotional campaign. These efforts, coupled with improvements in the transportation and logistics system, are expected to enhance the efficiency of exports to China.
This season, ASOEX is targeting consumption in lower-tier cities alongside its ongoing efforts in existing cities. Cities like Wuhan, Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Qingdao will be pivotal in reaching new consumers in the surrounding regions. The focus of this year's promotional activities is on cherries being part of happy moments in the lives of consumers, such as enjoying meal treats and exchanging holiday gifts, aiming to foster deeper connections with consumers.
In conclusion, the Chilean cherry industry is setting its sights high for the 2023/24 season, with an estimated record-breaking export volume. This increase is largely attributed to the introduction of new cherry varieties and the country's commitment to maintaining top-notch quality. With a strategic approach to market expansion and ongoing efforts in China, Chile's cherry exports are poised to make a significant impact in the coming years.