The Chilean cherry season has ended with sweet and sour results as, despite the good performance in exports, the logistical problems caused millionaire losses, according to representatives of Chilean fruit producers and exporters. In fact, it is estimated that 40% of the fruit reached the Chinese market after the New Year.
The president of the Federation of Fruit Producers, Jorge Valenzuela, told La Tribuna that "the logistical issues caused by COVID have been one of the great factors to harm the fruit business in general, particularly table grapes, blueberries, and cherries."
"In the case of mid-season and late-season cherries, there were problems of arrival at destination. The port of Hong Kong was stopped for several weeks and, as a result, there were about 4,000 containers that were detained there, and, unfortunately, the fruit does not arrive in good condition after so many days. According to estimates, fruit exports were worth approximately $2 billion, $350 million of which were lost due to logistical reasons.”
"As a result, investors completely stopped investing in cherry. There are no major projects and the growth rate we had is paused," the leader said.
"We still don't know how long this logistical problem will last due to COVID. I don't think the increase in freight costs will go down and I hope they won't continue to rise because their value has already doubled and even tripled." "The positive thing is that people continue to consume the fruit. All the cherry that arrives in good conditions is sold at very good prices, which speaks of a good business," Jorge Valenzuela highlighted.
"In addition, we are growing at a 15% rate per year, with many new orchards and new crops that are going to go into production, we have the possibility of being a safe supplier of the entire northern hemisphere," Valenzuela said. Regarding the unfavorable conditions brought by the pandemic, the president of Fedefruta said: "We have been in talks with farmers, ports, and the different actors involved to see how we can solve these issues next season."
The president of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile, Ronald Bown, said that Chile had exported a record 356,387 tons of cherry to different markets around the world in the 2021-2022 campaign. "Despite these record exports, we could define it as one of the most difficult seasons on record."