The large stocks of European kiwifruit have delayed arrivals from the Southern Hemisphere. The Chilean kiwifruit season started in week 8 with the harvest and export of the first fruits of this new season, in which the sector expects to ship between 150,000 and 155,000 tons. However, the start has been slower than expected and this has been reflected in export statistics.
As of week 16, according to information shared by the Chilean Kiwi Committee, the volumes shipped by Chile to the various international markets represented only 62% of those shipped up to the same week of 2021. This year, the season has started at a time when there are still significant stocks of Northern Hemisphere fruit in the markets.
Carlos Cruzat, president of the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee, said: “Zespri has been putting increasing pressure on the markets in order to market its yellow kiwifruit supply, delaying the sale of its green kiwifruit, so Europe has had to delay the start of its campaign until mid-December, when it should normally start in November, which is when Zespri finished its European campaign. Starting later means having less time for marketing, so in Europe they are trying to increase their shipments overseas to try to balance the supply and get better returns for their growers. This slower start to the harvest has allowed the Chilean industry to have fruit with better physiological parameters, although with smaller sizes than we would like due to climatic factors.”
North America is currently the main destination for Chilean fruit, receiving 35.2% of the exported volumes and registering the smallest drop in shipments, of only 6%. Latin America is the second most important destination, receiving 25.3% of the Chilean kiwis exported (-26%), followed by Europe with 19.3% (and a significant drop of 64%), the Far East with a 14% share (-43%), the Middle East with 5.2% (and the only positive year-on-year variation, with +12%) and Russia, where shipments have fallen by 93% and represented a symbolic 0.6% of the total.
There are other factors too that have had an impact this season, according to the president of the Chilean Kiwi Committee. “One of the most important ones is the logistics. Shipping lines and port operations have suffered delays, and it’s important to recall that we are dealing with perishable products. We have gone from transit times to India of 45 days to an average of 60 days, and with little availability of containers, since this kind of routes are not prioritized by shipping companies. Also, freight rates have doubled and even tripled in some cases.”