Ag-Network-Chile

AGRICULTURAL OFFICE

Embassy of Chile, Washington, D.C.


Main Sectors: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit and Vegetables

Chile: Leader in Southern Hemisphere Fruit and Vegetable Exports

In the 1950s, the fruit and vegetable industry began a seedy export-oriented growth trend. Technological developments were the determining factor in launching this important production industry into the international arena.

Chilean fruit and vegetable exports date back to the early 20th century; however, the industry's steady growth did not begin until the early 1950s. The main factors that promoted this development were technological advantages that allowed shipping the products in vessels with cold storage chambers. The fruit and vegetable industry began in the late 1970s and early 1980s and it was due mainly to two factors:

 

Advantages for Fruit and Vegetables

Chile enjoys a series of advantages for producing fruit and vegetables:

Thanks to these advantages, the fruit and vegetable industry currently accounts for 8.5 percent of Chilean exports, ranking closely after mining exports, paper pulp and paper exports.

Today, there are roughly 7800 fruit and vegetable producers and 518 export companies. The industry's infrastructure has over 385 high-technology cold chambers, more than 100 large-scale packing facilities and 1000 packing plants in the farms and orchards.

Evolution of Exports

Table 1 shows how fruit and vegetable exports have evolved, from US$168 million in 1980 to US$1679 million in 2003, i.e. an almost 9-fold growth in a period of 23 years.

TABLE 1: Evolution of Fruits and Vegetables Exports

Year

US $ millions FOB

Thousand of tons

1980

168

261.0

1985

356

533.0

1990

716

1,034.6

1995

1,162

1,310.1

2000

1,386

1,506.4

2001

1,359

1,684.7

2002

1,534

1,830.5

2003

1,679

1,980.2

Source: Chilean Central Bank

In the mid 1960s, Chile 's share of all exports of grapes, kiwi fruit, apples and pears from the Southern Hemisphere amounted to only 3.5 percent. At present, Chile is the market leader in terms of volume, and it holds a 48 percent market share with regard to these species.

Chile is the main worldwide exporter of grapes and the second largest exporter of apples and pears.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Chile is the largest exporter of apples, peaches, berries and avocados, ranking second in pears and kiwi fruit.

Notably, 24 percent of the world's grapes and 9.1 percent of the world's peaches are produced in Chile . They are harvested when these fruits are out of season in the Northern Hemisphere, thus making Chile the main exporter for these products in the opposite season.

In the case of vegetables, specifically, average exports surpass US$31 million and the total volume is around 68,000 tons.

The main vegetables exported by Chile are onions, garlic, radicchios and asparagus.

A comparison of fruit and vegetable exports in 2003 with those made in 2002 shows that export amounts increased by 9.5 percent while export volumes grew by 8.2.

TABLE 2: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exports

 

Volume (Thousand of tons)

Value (MM US $ FOB)

Species

2000

2001

2002

2003

2000

2001

2002

2003*

Grapes

596.2

545.3

654.9

730.0

662.5

580.4

645.6

710.0

Apples

387.7

542.7

548.2

585.0

202.2

237.2

275.1

305.0

Pears

124.8

128.8

119.4

122.5

64.4

60.1

63.0

68.0

Kiwi fruit

102.5

110.4

117.5

107.0

68.3

65.9

86.7

85.0

Plums

52.7

81.6

75.9

80.8

64.8

70.7

68.9

70.0

Nectarines

43.8

52.0

51.1

58.5

44.8

44.8

44.5

46.0

Peaches

30.8

37.7

37.6

44.4

25.9

35.3

32.9

35.0

Cherries

6.1

7.5

12.8

11.0

22.6

29.6

37.5

35.0

Avocados

52.0

52.5

78.1

80.0

73.8

79.6

97.4

110.0

Raspberries

3.6

4.1

4.3

4.5

21.1

21.3

23.2

25.0

Blueberries

4.0

4.4

6.4

6.4

12.7

13.9

18.1

24.9

Lemons

18.0

21.0

25.9

30.0

14.1

20.0

31.1

35.0

Onions

29.3

34.7

39.4

51.0

7.9

10.4

10.3

15.0

Garlic

10.3

8.9

10.7

11.0

9.1

8.5

11.7

10.1

Radiahios

2.3

2.3

2.5

2. 8

4.2

3.7

2.6

2.6

Asparagus

3.6

2.9

2.1

1.7

5.5

3.9

2.9

2.0

Other fruit

26.5

33.5

41.4

52.1

74.6

66.1

80.6

98.8

Other vegetables

12.2

16.4

2.3

1.5

7.1

7.9

1.7

1.3

TOTAL

1,506.4

1,684.7

1,830.5

1,980.2

1,385.6

1,359.3

1,533.8

1,678.7

Source: Chilean Central Bank/ *2003 Forecast

There are major changes in terms of the varieties of fruit grown and exported. For instance, Crimson Seedless is a new variety of table grape recently introduced that is expected to continue growing. Traditional groups such as Delicious apples have gradually been replaced by two-colored varieties for which demand is currently rising, such as Gala, Royal Gala, Scarlett, Fuji and Braeburn.

 

Other Prominent Species

Species with considerable expansion rates in terms of export volumes include avocados, blueberries and lemons. The underlying reason is an increased surface area farmed in the last few years.

 

Main Species and Destination Market

At present, Chile makes direct export of more than 75 fruit and vegetable species to 70 markets. The main species exported are table grapes, apples, pears, kiwi fruit, pitted fruit and avocados. As Table 3 shows, the most important species is table grapes since it accounts for almost 36.9 percent of the total volume of exports, followed by apples with 29.5 percent of the total volume.

 

Volume (Tons) - 2002/2003 Season

Species

North America

Latin America

Europe

Far East

Middle East

Total

Grapes

416,217

80,583

129,473

65,650

6,334

698,257

Apples

95,348

202,808

203,945

30,429

65,349

597,879

Pears

19,604

32,113

56,088

716

4,698

113,219

Kiwi fruit

20,508

11,194

72,385

8,180

1,517

113,856

Plums

31,293

15,006

20,688

9,757

1,287

78,030

Nectarines

37,746

9,147

8,379

1,644

86

57,003

Peaches

29,615

15,782

1,107

175

0

46,679

Cherries

8,352

1,410

1,380

2,743

2 8

13,284

Avocados

89,297

123

2,687

8

0

92,115

Blueberries

4,877

7

372

216

0

5,474

Lemons

15,133

0

219

14,026

0

29,378

Other Fruit

90,707

8,899

18,094

9,137

778

54,070

Total 02/03

784,597

377,072

514,817

142,681

80,077

1,899,244

Total 01/02

671,426

440,881

437,592

128,145

74,670

1,752,714

Percent Variation

16.9%

-14.5%

17.6%

11.3%

7.2%

8.4%

Source: Chilean Exporters Association (ASOEX)

 

Destination Markets for Fruit and Vegetables Export

In the 2002/2003 season, the main destination was North America ( United States and Canada ) with 41.3 percent of shipments sent there, followed by Europe and Latin America to which 27.1 percent and 19.9 percent, respectively, of the shipments were sent. As Table 3 shows, the market share in other regions was Far East 7.5 percent and Middle East 4.2 percent.

 

Benefits of Free Trade Agreements for the Industry

The advantages of the Free Trade Agreement between Chile and the United States include the strengthening of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a reduction in the high duties applied to avocados and asparagus, the establishment of a dispute settlement system, and a special committee on phytosanitary matters.

In the Agreement between Chile and the European Union (FU), 85 percent of fresh fruit now enjoy tariff free status. This places Chile in a favorable position versus its competitors.

Fruit and vegetables with high potential such as apples, pears, plums, avocados, raspberries, onions, asparagus and bell peppers can already enter the EU markets under full customs duty exemption. Table grapes enjoy a benefit consisting of free quotas during two very important export periods: from January I to Icily 14 and from November 1 to December 31 of each year. Garlic was granted a 500-ton quota, with an annual increase of 25 tons.

The content of this document (Experience the Flavors of Chile - 2004) was kindly provided by the Export Promotion Bureau - ProChile

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