Chilean walnut production is expected to rise by 20 per cent to 90,000 tonnes in 2017 according to industry body the Chilean Walnut Commission.
Executive director Andrés Rodríguez said the mild spring had allowed for abundant flowering, with a bumper harvest expected in March and April.
Chile’s walnut output is projected to double in the next five years. Currently, only 60 per cent of the 43,662ha planted have reached full production.
Exports of unshelled walnuts totalled US$93.4m in 2016, with Turkey, Italy and UAE being the top three destinations. Shipments of shelled walnuts reached US$137.7m, Brazil, Germany and Italy being the main markets.
In spite of the problems caused by unexpected rains in April during the main harvesting period, 2016 was a fairly positive year for the industry in which several breakthroughs were achieved.
In-shell walnuts were granted access to the Chinese market, which fumigation with phosphine was approved in India, allowing for an improvement in the quality of the nuts as they no longer have to be fumigated with methyl bromide.
Last year also saw the signing of a joint operational agreement between the production and export associations, ChileNut and the Chilean Walnut Commission.