Agronometrics in Charts: Commencement of the Chilean Cherry Season Fraught with Challenges

By Agronometrics | 25 November 2023

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Chilean cherry season. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

The Chilean Cherry Committee, representing over 85 percent of the global Chilean cherry exports, recently revised its estimate for the 2023-2024 season. Unforeseen climatic events, including heavy rains and the El Niño phenomenon, have prompted a 14.6 percent reduction from the initial October forecast which stood at 81,477,564 million boxes (5 kilos each). The 2022-2023 closed with 83 million boxes exported while area planted reached 61,599 hectares (ha).

cherry volumes by histor 6 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.

(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“It is important to make clear that this season has not been easy to estimate the volumes, due to effects of climate change and the El Niño phenomenon, which has meant that the volumes vary week by week. The forecast will evolve as the season progresses and the effects of the latest rains on the ground are evaluated,” says Claudia Soler, the executive director of the Chilean Cherry Committee.

In addition to weather-related challenges, the Chilean cherry industry faces logistical hurdles, including the recent collapse of Chile’s automated Customs system. Fedefruta, the federation of fruit producers of Chile, expressed concerns about potential delays in shipments, emphasizing the critical need for quick transportation to maintain the fruit’s condition. Additionally, a labor strike initiated by temporary port workers in San Antonio presents another formidable obstacle, carrying potential ramifications for the loading of refrigerated containers. Producers are vigilantly monitoring the unfolding situation to evaluate its potential impact on the timely transportation of cherries.

The peak week for global exports, identified as Week 51 (December 18-24), remains unchanged. Soler underscored that, despite the drop in volumes, the industry is focused on meeting global demand with the expected quality and condition. The robust demand observed across international markets, combined with an unwavering commitment to dispatch premium-grade fruit, has engendered a sense of confidence in a favorable outcome for the ongoing season.

Over the past decade, the global export volume of cherries has surged by 120 percent, with Chile playing a pivotal role. Presently, Chile stands as the world’s leading exporter of cherries, contributing to 57 percent of the total global cherry exports. This remarkable expansion becomes particularly evident when juxtaposed with the situation two decades ago, when Chilean cherries accounted for a mere 9 percent of the total global cherry exports. According to data from the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, the Maule region holds 27,818 ha or 45.2 percent of the area planted in Chile, making it the top production region in Chile. The O’Higgins region, which is in the central part of the country, holds 22,966 ha of area planted and represents 37.3 percent of total area planted.

Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), highlighted the importance of investing in retail programs to raise awareness among retailers about the availability of Chilean cherries during the winter months. In tandem with this effort, the association has formulated plans to directly engage with consumers through various channels, including social media platforms and a monthly newsletter. These strategic initiatives have been designed to disseminate pertinent marketing information and harvest updates in the US market.

cherry volumes by origin 13

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.

(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

Witten by Sarah Ilyas

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