Recent rains will mean a decline of 50 per cent in early varieties, Fedefruta warns

Chile’s early cherry production will be down by 50 per cent, according to the latest forecast released by Fedefruta. This revises its earlier estimate that 30 per cent of the early crop would be lost due to split fruit and points to a total export crop of below 80m cartons.

Chilean cherries

Fedefruta warned that in parts of Curicó, an important production region, some orchards will only be able to harvest 20-40 per cent of the expected crop due to storms and unexpected rainfall. The most affected varieties are Royal Dawn and Santina.

“Today, with the early cherry work already finishing in the O’Higgins Region, we are seeing losses of 50 per cent in the harvest of these varieties, while some parts of Curicó are seeing losses of 60 and even 80 per cent,” said the federation’s president, Jorge Valenzuela.

He said the situation has become clearer now that fruit is being packed and shipped, noting that “given what we have observed in recent days, we believe that cherry export estimates will naturally be below 80m cartons”.

Valenzuela pointed out that the decrease is also due to the few hours of cold accumulated during winter, which complicated flowering and fruit set in early varieties.

“Now that we are in December, the volume of cherry harvests in the different regions of our country increases exponentially every day. That is why we remind all producers that the most important thing is to maintain our quality and be consistent, so we must work with intensity but also calmly, hoping that we will have a few more stable weeks from the climatic point of view, to face the peak of the harvests,” Valenzuela continued.

Fedefruta said it also monitoring the impact of recent rains on the upcoming table grape harvests in Chile’s central area, along with blueberries from Parral, Maule Region, to the south of the country.