California’s loss could soon be Chile’s boon when it comes to prunes.
While Chile has been among the world’s leading prune exporters in recent years, weather problems in California at the start of this year mean the South American country may become the world’s top shipper in 2016.
Chile Prunes Association executive director Andrés Rodríguez said rains, frosts and heavy winds during the U.S. pollination period had led to a potential 57% drop in production to 41,000 metric tons (MT).
In contrast, Chile’s production is set to hold steady at 70,000MT.
Rodríguez added that less availability of the product worldwide meant prices had risen, mostly for larger-sized dried fruit.
However, he emphasized it was still unknown how stocks would fare for the rest of the year, as international stocks and available sizes would have to be analyzed.
Chile exports around 97% of its prune production, and registered sales of US$200 million in 2015.