Bi-coloured apples

The Chilean topfruit industry is feeling optimistic about the 2008/09 harvest, with local sources predicting fewer volumes in comparison to last season, but generally larger-sized fruit.

“Apple volumes are forecast to reach about 39.1m cartons, which is about 6 per cent less than in 2007/08,” Isabel Quiroz, head of Chilean fruit services firm IQonsulting, told

“The apple crop has developed in an entirely normal fashion except for fewer hours of cold weather during the winter, which could have an impact on certain varieties such as Delicious and Fuji. As for pears, we expect Chile will harvest around 8.9m cartons – roughly 2 per cent down on the previous season.”

Fellow Chilean fruit consultancy Decofrut is predicting an even sharper decline in apple production this season, with surveys suggesting that apple production will be down about 10 per cent compared with last season.

“We are projecting an 18 per cent drop in Red Delicious production, an 11 per cent drop in Fuji production, 8 per cent for Galas and 5 per cent for Grannies and Pink Ladies,” confirmed Decofrut director Manuel José Alcaíno.

Last season Chile exported 41.8m cartons of apples in 2007/08, according to figures from the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), down from the previous season’s 44.1m carton-total.