Chilean nectarines

Image: Vanguard International

The 2022 Chilean nectarine harvest is underway, with forecasts pointing to a similar export volume to last season.

According to a crop update from global fresh produce company Vanguard International, exports are on track to top 70,000 tonnes this season, despite a late start to harvest.

“Harvest is 10-days later this season compared to the 2021 season,” the update said.

“To date, the entire Chilean industry has shipped 7,400 tonnes, which is approximately 30 per cent less than last year during the same period. The decrease in volumes to date has been caused by challenging weather conditions.

“We anticipate catching up in 2022, with the total expected volume shipped to be very similar to last year, with an export volume of Chilean nectarines of 70,500 tonnes.”

Asia will again be a major market for Chilean nectarine exports in 2022, with shipments to this region forecast at 30,000 tonnes, according to Vanguard. Other key markets include Europe (12,000 tonnes), the US East Coast (11,000 tonnes), the US West Coast (6,500 tonnes) and Canada (2,000 tonnes). Around 9,000 tonnes are expected to be sold in Latin America.

Vanguard pointed out some significant obstacles facing the Chilean industry.

“As seen with other commodities this year including cherries, labour costs have increased 30–40 per cent in packaging and packing costs,” the crop update said. “In addition, we are seeing freight rates almost double in particular to Asian markets.

“As the season is just beginning, we are hopeful the freight and labors costs decrease once the Chilean cherry season concludes.”