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Chilean citrus exports expected to increase 6%

chile citrus 5-2-19 web

UPDATED Chilean Citrus exports are forecasted to reach a total volume of 387,000 tons by the ASOEX Citrus Committee, representing a 6 percent increase for the 2021 season.

An increase in plantations during the last decade has resulted in the increase of citrus exports. Juan Enrique Ortuzar, president of the Citrus Committee, stated, “in total there are 22,230 hectares planted, of which 8,427 correspond to mandarin, 7,376 hectares correspond to lemons, 6,260 hectares correspond to oranges, and 167 to grapefruits.”

The greatest increase will be for mandarins, with an increase of 11 percent totaling 145,000 tons, when compared to the previous season.

They are followed by clementines with an increase of 7 percent totaling 55,000 tons, lemons with an increase of 3 percent totaling 98,000 tons, and oranges will maintain last year’s export volume totaling 89,000 tons.

Ortuzar says the estimates are favorable due to the heavy rains in 2020, as “last year’s rains gives us more peace of mind to face this season with less uncertainty than the previous one and to project it with optimism.”

Chilean citrus season typically starts in early May and runs through October.

The U.S. is the main destination receiving about 85 percent of total shipments, followed by the Far East with 9 percent, and Europe with 3 percent. Other destinations included Canada, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Opening its doors to citrus fruits in 2020, China received 1,031 tons of mandarins, 404 tons of oranges, 46 tons of clementines, and 5,650 tons of lemons last year.

While retail promotions in previous seasons featured a strong in-store component, the Citrus Committee moved completely online in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association states, “We partnered with nearly 50 retail chains last season, employing such tactics as digital coupons, web sliders, banner ads, retail-tagged videos and social media programs. Not only were these strategies highly effective in driving sales, they were also powerful in reaching millions of shoppers with citrus nutrition and usage information.” The Committee will expand on these promotions in 2021 and add new e-commerce initiatives. For retailers wanting to promote in-store, merchandising support will be available. Adds Brux, “We’re continually monitoring retail and consumer shifts so that we can provide the best support, both for the Chilean citrus growers and exporters and our partners in North America.”

Clementine shipments are expected to start in Week 15, while lemons will commence around Week 18. The Committee will send more detailed information on all citrus categories as the season progresses, with weekly crop updates beginning Week 18.

Marco Campos is Media Coordinator, Latin America for Blue Book Services