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Newsletter 165 – 03.26.2024

Again a favorable campaign for the southern cherry has just ended. This fine fruit is complicated to produce and market, so it requires a lot of care, forecasts in unexpected situations and perfect logistics. All this effort is compensated by the success it is having and the attractive prices that are being paid for it. In the first place is China, a country to which more than 90% of southern cherries are allocated. The Chinese are "crazy for cherry", being for them the greatest symbol of happiness, fortune and prosperity. Especially for the celebration of the New Year, cherry is sought as present. This leads to the entire commercial strategy being set to arrive with huge volumes in the days before the celebration. From 3 to 6 weeks before the celebration, one ship after another leaves, totaling about 60,000 - 100,000 tons embarked per week. This is a huge logistics challenge. They are weeks full of stress, when the success of the campaign is at stake. Thanks to the fact that improvements are achieved every year, either with faster ships, expanding the destinations or simplifying the bureaucracy, it was possible to sustain and improve this business. This year 380,000 tons of southern cherries entered China. This is a new record and is the duplication of volumes in less than 5 years. Therefore, China remains the main destination, is fundamental regarding the evolution of the southern hemisphere business.

But all actors are aware that it is risky to depend on a single market, so efforts are made to diversify them. The volumes sent to other destinations are very low if we compare it with the magnitude of the Chinese trade. The total exported to all others is 10% of what is sent to China. But its importance lies that they are opportunities for minor suppliers, dependence with China is reduced and in several there are very good possibilities to grow.

The second destination of southern cherries are the US. In the campaign that has just finished he received some 17,000 tons. What is expected is that Americans not only buy it for the end of the year holidays, but also to take it into consideration as an alternative during the winter months, for which advertising campaigns are being carried out.

Another interesting region and which shows a lot of growth potential is the Far East, Central and Southeast Asia. Countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia or India are buying growing volumes. This is due to Chinese influence and the large number of Chinese living there. These countries seek to position cherry as a special fruit, a luxury that is given for special occasions (eg: weddings).

In Europe and Latin America the advance is leisurely. For now, cherry is seen as a special fruit for the end of the year. Out of that moment, sales are minimal, mainly restricting to the HORECA sector.

Chile is the mainexporter. The figures clearly show its dominance. 95% of southern hemisphere cherries come from Chile. The remaining 5% is provided first by Argentina, followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Argentina had a very good campaign. With an export of 7,200 Tons achieved a new record, placing 50% above the previous years. Its exports are more diversified, having less dependence on China. In addition to Asia, he sends his cherries to the US and Europe. Australia and New Zealand each contribute about 3,000-5,000 tons per year. Its main destination is the Far East; China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and India. The contributions of South Africa are limited, less than 1,000 tons per year, in the face of agroclimatic limitations that this crop has in southern Africa.

Author: Agr. Ing. Betina Ernst