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Chilean Stone Fruits Step Into Early-Spring Spotlight in China

March 06, 2022

It is now early springtime in China, which means that market demand for stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines and plums is being filled by imported products. Key among these are various varieties of plums, sugar plums and nectarines from Chile.

Although there are some domestically grown nectarines on the market from heated greenhouses in Dalian among other places, the production volume is small. Thus, Chile is the key supplier of stone fruit to China at the moment, with a product that is fresh and sweet as a result of Chile’s counterseasonal production. According to traders at Guangzhou’s Jiangnonghui wholesale market, although there are small volumes of Australian stone fruit present, most of the imported nectarines and plums currently being sold there originate from Chile.

As of week 7 (Feb. 14–20), Chile had exported 27,952 tons of plums and 28,065 tons of sugar plums globally, with most of the latter bound for China. Meanwhile, nectarine exports stood at 65,152 tons. The peaches and nectarines being harvested in the Metropolitan and O’Higgins regions during week 7 were of medium size, but the harvesting of larger varieties was due to begin in the subsequent weeks.

Last season, Chile exported 95,308 tons of plums, 26,020 tons of sugar plums and 72,180 tons of nectarines globally. The Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) projects that the total export volumes this season will reach 105,669 tons for plums, 31,563 tons for sugar plums and 76,401 tons for nectarines, corresponding to increases of 10.9%, 21.3% and 5.9%, respectively, compared with last season.

Chilean stone fruits come in many varieties and have a long availability window that lasts from December to April, which is partially attributable to Chile’s unique geography and diverse microclimates. Fruit traders in China have increasingly been taking advantage of this long supply window and diverse product portfolio in recent years, such that China is now the most important market in Asia for both Chilean plums and Chilean nectarines.

Images: ASOEX

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