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Amidst Record Chilean Cherry Season, China Arrivals to Peak in Jan.

December 30, 2020

With Chile’s global fresh cherry exports expected to break records in the 2020/21 season, it is set to be another big year for the fruit in China, where arrivals of Chilean cherries are projected to peak in the second and third weeks of January, according to estimates from the Chilean Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

Charif Christian Carvajal, ASOEX’s marketing director for Europe and Asia, delivered a WeChat-based virtual presentation to Produce Report readers on Dec. 23. The presentation provided members of China’s fresh produce supply chain an overview of the coming Chilean cherry season and shared with them the steps taken by Chilean cherry exporters to further safeguard the health and safety of their products during the global pandemic.

Carvajal explained, “According to the Chilean Cherry Committee’s estimate, for the 2020/21 season Chile will export to the whole world 316,000 tons of fresh cherries, which basically is a 38% increase over the 2019/20 season. A large percentage of this volume will make its way to Asia, and particularly to China.”

“The Chilean cherry committee has this season developed an estimate of what weekly arrivals of Chilean cherries to China are expected to look like,” said Carvajal. “At this stage, we estimate that most of the cherries will be arriving to China in a fairly concentrated manner from week 1 all the way up to weeks 4 or 5.”

There is also expected to be an increased number of fast charter vessels sailing directly from Chile to Shanghai this season, allowing the fruit to reach China in only 23 days without intermediate stops.

Carvajal outlined some of the ways in which Chilean growers, packers and exporters of cherries and other fruits have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the quality and safety of their products and put customers at ease. This includes the development of the “Good Practice Guide for the Prevention of Coronavirus SARS CoV-2 in Fields, Farm Packing and Fruit Packing Plants” with a best practices checklist. This guide, now in its third edition, follows the norms established by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and it has been reviewed and approved by Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture and validated by the Chilean Ministry of Health.

“The fruit industry in Chile is taking up the challenge posed by COVID,” said Carvajal. “We are constantly informing our exporters and growers of market developments, organizing online seminars and doing other work to educate them about the new guidelines they must follow at the orchard and packing levels.”

“The main evidence of how Chile has faced up to the COVID challenge is the fact that since February of 2020, Chilean suppliers have continuously exported fresh fruit to international markets without any issues whatsoever,” said Carvajal. “This shows the resilience of Chilean fresh fruit growers and exporters in upholding their commitment to supplying global markets with fresh produce.”

Images: ASOEX


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