The official start of Chile's 2022/2023 cherry season was marked by the celebration of the cherry blossom. Chilean and Chinese authorities attended the event, which was held at the Ana Maria orchard in the commune of Romeral, Maule, one of the country's cherry production areas par excellence.
At the ceremony, Niu Qingbao, China's ambassador to Chile, said that the South American country's cherry production reflects political relations, cooperation, and exchange in different trade areas. "Chilean fruit exports are not only important for Chilean exporters, they're also important for consumers in China. That's why both parties want to join forces to do everything possible to solve any problem there might be," he said.
The Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, highlighted the importance of China to the Chilean cherry industry. Almost 90% of Chile's cherry exports are directed to that destination where they achieve very good prices, he stated.
Despite the difficulties last season, Chilean cherry exports to China surpassed the $2 billion mark, Valenzuela added. "If everything goes well and we have no logistics, traceability, or pests issues, we could approach 3 billion dollars," he said.
According to the president of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile (Asoex), Ivan Marambio, the cherry has become Chile's main fruit export, surpassing table grapes. “The Chinese market is by far the largest market for our cherry. It is the most important destination market when it comes to this particular fruit and the most important market for our fruit in general," he stated.
According to Asoex data, Chile exported 356,348 tons of cherries in the 2021-2022 season; 313,237 tons of which were shipped to China.
In 2022 Chile continues to be the world's leading cherry exporter.