Chilean citrus output and exports up big, report says

From The Packer | 13 June 2023

Overview of citrus from Chile in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on June 8, 2023. 

All citrus varieties in Chile will witness greater production and exports in the 2022-23 season, a report says.

The USDA’s semi-annual report on Chilean citrus estimates lemon production will increase by 26.4% and total 172,000 metric tons in 2022-23 due to favorable climatic conditions.

Lemon production and exports have surged as a profitable alternative in the country’s Coquimbo, Valparaíso and Metropolitana regions against other crops such as table grapes, which have experienced a decrease in grower returns due to low prices, the report said. The Coquimbo region represents 20.3% of the lemon area planted in Chile, compared with 41.1% in the Metropolitana region.

The USDA said lemon exports will increase by 33.9% and reach 75,000 metric tons because of higher production and a decrease in freight costs.

The lemon marketing year starts in April with the beginning of the harvest season, with the bulk of exports taking place between June and September. Peak shipments typically happen in July or August, depending on weather and market conditions, the report said.

The U.S. is the top export market for Chilean lemons, accounting for 55.5% of export volume in 2021-22. Chile also exports substantial volumes of lemons to Japan, China and South Korea.


The USDA said Chilean orange production is estimated to increase 6.1% to 174,000 metric tons in 2022-23; orange exports will increase by 4.7% to 90,000 metric tons, the report said. Yields are up due to increased rainfall and no damage from frost, the report said.

The Metropolitana and O’Higgins regions are the top orange-producing regions in Chile, holding 39.3% and 31.3% of the orange area planted, respectively, the report said.

all commodities volumes 2

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

In Chile, the orange marketing year starts April with the beginning of the harvest season, with the bulk of Chilean orange exports occurring between July and September each year and peaking around August, the report said. The U.S. accounted for about 90% of Chilean orange exports in 2021-22, the USDA said.

Chilean mandarin output in 2022-23 will jump by 26.5% to 215,000 metric tons, the report says, spurred by an increase in yields and new acreage coming online.

The report said the Chilean mandarin area planted increased significantly since 2014-15 due to high profits. In particular, the report said the w. murcott variety became a viable alternative to replace other crops such as oranges or tables grapes, which are less profitable than mandarins.

Mandarin exports will increase by 25% and total 180,000 metric tons in 2022-23, the report said. The U.S. accounts for more than 95% of Chilean mandarin exports, the report said.

In March 2023, Chile gained market access to Mexico for lemons, clementines and mandarins using an enhanced inspection system instead of methyl bromide fumigation.

According to Chilean fruit exporters, this will allow fruit to reach the Mexican market with higher quality since methyl bromide reduced postharvest life. Additionally, it moves towards the effort of Chilean exporters to diversify their export markets, the report said.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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