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Chile’s Kiwifruit Season Starts Strong with High Quality Expected

April 24, 2019

The Chilean Kiwifruit Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) last week released its first report of the 2019 season, updating importers on the status of the Chilean kiwifruit sector and recent and future trends.

Exports of Chilean kiwifruit for the 2019 season are projected to reach a total of 175,000 tons, with the Hayward variety accounting for 94.4% (165,000 tons), yellow-fleshed kiwifruit accounting for 3.4% (6,000 tons), and other varieties accounting for the remaining 2.2% (4,000 tons). This represents a decrease of 5% from the 184,291 tons exported in the 2018 season, which is attributable to several factors, including a reduction in planted acreage, mainly for older orchards, spring rains, and hailstorms in November that affected a small producing area in the north of the country.

The quality and condition of the exported kiwifruit are expected to remain good, with high levels of dry matter owing to the dry and hot summer and the application, for the second consecutive season, of stricter harvest parameters with the goal of ensuring a more uniform crop possessing superior storage characteristics. This requirement of stricter harvest parameters, under the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee’s Maturity Assurance Program, has tended to slightly delay the start of the harvest over the last few years for the benefit of produce quality, affording fruit with a better taste and longer postharvest life. This approach has proven essential in the increasingly competitive kiwifruit market, allowing improved distribution of a higher quality product to the international market.

The first fruits of the Hayward variety began to reach maturity at the start of March in the early zones toward the north of the producing area, in the Valparaíso region and coastal areas of the O'Higgins region, and picking is now underway in orchards throughout the producing area. Owing to the colder weather during late summer and early autumn, the arrival of produce onto the markets is expected to be more gradual this season, although the harvested volumes are growing steadily.

Exports of the yellow-fleshed and early green-fleshed varieties started in week 8, a week earlier than in the 2018 season. By week 14, total shipments had reached 11,422 tons, with the Hayward variety accounting for 81% (9,245 tons), yellow-fleshed kiwifruit accounting for 8.5% (973 tons), and other varieties accounting for 11.5% (1,205 tons). The other varieties included Summer Kiwi (932 tons, 77%), Green Light (180 tons, 15%), and Sweet Kiwi (92 tons, 7.6%). While the total export volume of all varieties and the export volumes of Hayward and other varieties are similar to those reported by week 14 of 2018, the export volume of yellow-fleshed varieties has seen a large year-on-year increase of over twofold (+112%), compared to last season’s data (458 tons).

The main export destinations for Hayward kiwifruit from Chile so far this season have been North America (3,013 tons, 32.6%), Latin America (2,487 tons, 26.9%), the Far East (2,384 tons, 25.8%), and Europe (1,085 tons, 11.7%), with smaller volumes dispatched to Russia (207 tons, 2.2%) and the Middle East (69 tons, 0.7%). Compared to last season’s data up to week 14, the export volumes to Latin America and the Far East have increased by 83% and 13%, respectively, while those to North America (−12%), Europe (−27%), and Russia (−76%) have all decreased. Meanwhile, the main export destinations for yellow-fleshed kiwifruit have been the Far East (691 tons, 71%), Europe (121 tons, 12.4%), Latin America (113 tons, 11.6%), and North America (47 tons, 4.8%). Compared to last season’s data, the export volumes to the Far East, North America, and Latin America have greatly increased by 197%, 92%, and 55%, respectively, whereas those to Europe have seen a slight decrease (−5%). The first shipments of Chilean Hayward to the Far East are due to arrive in late April.

The Chilean Kiwifruit Committee and ASOEX are currently engaged in promotional campaigns in various markets, including China, Europe, and India, with a new campaign due to be launched in the USA this season to highlight the benefits of Chilean kiwifruit as a high-quality, competitively priced, and best value product.

For more information on Chilean kiwifruit, interested parties are invited to contact the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee at info@comitedelkiwi.cl.

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