The USDA has forecast Chilean table grape exports to rise significantly in the upcoming season, while apples are expected to remain flat and pears will likely see a decline.
In its Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual report for Chile, the USDA said it expects table grape exports from the Latin American country to rise by 23 percent year-on-year to 645,000 metric tons (MT).
"This estimate assumes production will bounce back after the setback caused by the rainfall in January 2021," it said.
Chilean table grape exports decreased by 13 percent in volume last season to 525,419, while the value of exports dropped by 11 percent to $826 million.
Total table grape production is expected to increase by a similar level to exports to reach 805,000MT. The rebound in production is associated with increased production from new varieties planted in recent years and a return to more normalized climatic conditions.
The United States remains the main market for Chilean table grape exports accounting for 49 percent of Chilean table grape exports. In 2020-21, table grape exports to the United States totaled 254,811 MT an 8 percent decrease over 2019/20.
China is the second market for Chilean table grape exports, totaling 78,117 MT in 2020-21 a 30.1 percent decline over 2019-20. This decline is attributed to the quality of the fruit that was damaged by rainfall. Much of this product was not good enough to travel from Chile to a distant market like China and arrive with the required firmness and overall quality.
Chilean apple exports are expected to reach 637000MT next year, nearly unchanged from the previous season.
The USDA says the forecast follows the current production trend closely. In 2020-21 (data until August), Chilean apple exports totaled 546,193 MT, a 3.7 percent decrease from 2019-20.
For 2021-22, it estimates apple planted area to remain flat at 32,300 hectares.
"Producers are renewing current apple orchards with new varieties, but planted area is not increasing significantly due to competition from other fruit crops that are more profitable," it said.
"Some of the new apple varieties in Chile are Brookfield Gala, Pink Lady, Rosy Glow, Ambrosia, Modi, and Buckeye."
Apple production in 2021-22 is expected to remain flat and total 1,090,000MT since planted area is projected to remain unchanged.
The USDA bases this projection considering the drought problems that Chile is facing in the apple production regions and assuming no unexpected meteorological events.
Pear exports are set to decrease by 7 percent to 112,000 due to the decrease in pear planted area and lower anticipated production volume.
"In 2020-21 (data until August) Chile increased exports by 6.8 percent, totaling 114,915 MT," it said. "This increase in exports was due to the increase in pear production and because Chile was able to position pears in foreign markets, despite the difficulties in commercialization that come from consumer preferences."
In 2020-21, planted area is projected to decrease to 6,700 ha, following the reduction trend observed since MY2017-18.
The USDA projects Chile’s 2021-22 fresh pear production to decrease by 6.9 percent and total 217,000 MT.