Chile Kicks Off Citrus Campaign 2017

SANTIAGO – Chile’s first clementine shipment of the 2017 campaign is underway and the industry says it is anticipating another year of solid growth.

The first vessel departed from the Port of Valparaiso in week 15, a week earlier than last season. It contains around 12,260 cartons of clementines, including 7,940 cartons of Oronules and 4,320 cartons of Clemenules.

Chile’s clementine volume is expected to be slightly less than in 2016, with around 42,000 tonnes due to be exported between April and July. In 2016, 99 per cent of all Chilean clementines were shipped to North America, and the same is anticipated for this season.

As clementine shipments start to wind down in July, mandarins will ramp up, with sendings concentrated in the August to September period.

Navel oranges will be available from June to October, with lemon shipments running from May through to October.

“With favorable autumn temperatures and sufficient rainfall, we anticipate good sizing and flavorful, juicy fruit,” the Chilean Citrus Committee said.

While total citrus volume is expected to increase by just 3 per cent, from 247,363 tonnes in 2016 to 256,000 tonnes in 2017, big growth is once again anticipated for mandarins, the committee said.

On the heels of a 22 per cent volume increase in 2016, it foresees a 26 per cent increase this season, with volume jumping from 53,000 tonnes to 67,000 tonnes.

Nearly 100 per cent of all mandarins are destined for the North American market.

“In 2014, Chile’s mandarin volume was around 27,000 tonnes. Here we are in 2017, just three years later, and we expect to ship 67,000 tonnes,” said Juan Enrique Ortuzar, chairman of the Chilean Citrus Committee.

“This growth is phenomenal, and in direct response to strong demand from our customers in North America. We believe there are still more growth opportunities, and the Chilean Citrus Committee remains committed to supporting market development.”

The committee is set to expand its marketing program from the US into Canada this season, working with a Toronto-based merchandiser to grow the Eastern Canadian market in particular.

The US will remain Chile’s primary focus, however, and programs to promote lemons, easy peelers and Navels are currently being discussed with retailers across the country.

The committee will launch this season’s marketing program during two May shows: the annual CPMA convention in Toronto and The West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs.

With a strong social media following and a large retail dietitian network, the committee will also engage in an extensive online marketing campaign.

Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association said: “Chile is the largest exporter of Navels and easy peelers to North America and we offer a consistently great tasting piece of fruit to retailers and their customers.

“We’re thrilled that the Chilean citrus industry is continuing to strengthen its marketing investment so we can get our citrus, whether lemons, easy peelers or Navels, into more shopping carts.”