For the first time, Chile’s shipments of cherries FOB are worth more than their exports of table grapes, showing a clear shift in the country’s priorities. Cherry exports reached US$1.3 billion in 2018-2019, compared to US$1,1 billion for table grape exports. In volume terms, grapes still have supremacy 652,000 tons of grapes compared with 180,000 tons of cherries in the same period.
Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, said that cherries will soon become the most planted fruit species in the country and noted that the cherry benefits from having little competition in the Southern Hemisphere, unlike the grape, which now faces stiff competition from Peru. Around 90% of Chile’s cherry exports (US$1.2 billion) head to China, which means that Chile needs to work on diversifying its markets.