Imports of Chilean Royal Gala apples increase in Brazil

By Antonella Rocco. Agronomist and analyst at the portal Mercado Brasilero.

In recent weeks, Royal Gala apple arrivals have increased in the Brazilian market.

Brazil has gone from being a major importer to an interesting exporter of apples, especially Gala (65%) and Fuji (35%). According to the Brazilian association of apple producers (ABPM), in 2020 Brazil ranked 150th worldwide, representing 1.09%.

However, in the 2021/2022 season there was a considerable volume drop due to "off" years in the productions and the impact of the La Niña phenomenon, which caused damage to apple trees as a result of excessive rainfall during the flowering period and severe drought during the fruit setting. Consequently, volumes were reduced by 38%, with a high predominance of small sizes and a lack of color.

Researchers are currently working on clones to improve this color deficiency that has been observed again and again over the seasons. The Purple Gala variety has been gaining strength thanks to its good results in the field, standing out for its homogeneous color and good fruit formation.

The domestic product has found an interesting niche for small sizes in the markets of Russia, Bangladesh and India, but the political contingency, the availability of maritime transport and high logistics costs have led producers to leave this fruit in the domestic market, with a stable and competitive price to cover operational costs.

During week 21, shipments of Royal Gala and clones from Chile to Brazil increased by 37% compared to the previous week. Compared to last season, Chilean exports have already far exceeded the 2021 volumes.

At the same date last year, only 23 tons of the variety had been shipped to Brazil, while this year the volume has reached 8,355 tons (+36,226%), displacing the red varieties that dominated the market during the previous season; a situation that could be explained by the scarce local supply.

The advantage of the domestic Gala is that it can be supplied uninterruptedly in the market, without any sharp drops in the supply, which imported Gala apples occasionally suffer.

Brazil is the third largest destination in Latin America for this variety, with Chile being the only supplier in Latin America, besides Uruguay, which supplies some Gala at specific times of the season and accounts for a very low and insignificant share to be considered as a strong supplier of apples.

Chilean exports have so far consisted mostly of medium size fruit; however, during the 22nd and 23rd week, there was slightly more fruit of smaller sizes (138-165).

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