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Lower fruit production in Chile

In 2015/16, the following weather conditions combined to reduce yields of cherries, table grapes and apples in Chile: 1) higher than ideal temperatures reduced the number of chill hours during the winter; 2) rainfall during the spring and harvest season; and, 3) high relative humidity during the summer.

Climatic conditions combined to prune yields of cherries, table grapes, apples, walnuts, and wine grapes in Chile during the 2015/16 marketing year, reports the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

Higher than ideal temperatures reduced the number of chill hours during the 2015/16 winter. This meant blooming was delayed, uneven, and lasted longer, and the fruit set reduced for all fruits in Chile.

Another adverse factor was the rainfall during spring and the harvest season. The rain in October and November decreased cherry production and that in mid-April  – during the harvest of apples, table grapes, walnuts and wine grapes – decreased the quality and volume of exportable fruit, GAIN said.

Thirdly, high relative humidity during summer caused fungus diseases like Botrytis on table and wine grapes.

Cherries

The less than ideal number of chill hours in winter and spring delayed the cherry harvest about 10 days. A 27.7% drop in exports was initially expected but exports recovered temporarily in January. Overall, however, the MY2015/16 export volume of 83,729 tons was down 19% on MY 2014/15.

China/Hong Kong was the destination for 84% of Chile’s cherry exports and, because of the reduced volumes, prices were 15% higher.

Apples

The climatic conditions in spring caused uneven bloom, delaying the Royal Gala harvest 1-2 weeks. The harvest window was shorter and the last fruit left did not achieve the colour requirements and was too mature to harvest – factors preventing export.

Fruit volume destined for the processing industry (juice) was high and the prices dropped but reception of Chilean Royal Gala apples was good in the US market.

The Fuji variety was damaged the most by the mid-April rains, since it was in the middle of the harvest and there was some fruit cracking.

The volume of apples exported by Chile from week 1 to week 20 (May 22) was 351,152 tons, which was up 16% on the same period in 2014/15. Overall, it is forecast to export a total of about 660,000 tons of apples in 2015/16.

Table grapes

Chile’s table grape harvest was also delayed, which decreased exported volumes, though a recovery in exported volumes took place in April.

Overall, 2015/16 exports are expected to drop to 660,000 tons, down 12.5%.


 

source: “Climatic Conditions Lower Chilean Fruit Production Volumes”, USDA GAIN report CI1612, date 5/27/2016

 

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Hortifrut & Munger Brothers, LLC to merge

To be called Munger-Hortifrut North America, Inc., the new subsidiary of Hortifrut S.A. will manage its North American berry operations

Munger Brothers, LLC (California, US) and Hortifrut S.A. (Santiago, Chile) – both Naturipe Farms partners – have signed a memorandum of understanding to merge the Munger’s berry business with Hortifrut, S.A.

To be called Munger-Hortifrut North America, Inc., the new subsidiary of Hortifrut S.A. will manage its North American berry operations.

The merger means the formation of a consolidated global berry organisation with operations in Washington, Oregon and California in the US as well as in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Africa and Asia, Naturipe Farms said in a media release.

Munger Brothers, LLC is the largest North American fresh blueberry producer, with over 1,200 ha in the premier producing regions from British Columbia to Washington, Oregon, California and Mexico.

“We are extremely proud and honoured to join hands with the Munger family, whom we have known for well over a decade and with whom we have successfully collaborated on a wide range of berry projects,” Hortifrut S.A. founder and chairman Victor Moller said in the release.

“With this unique event in the produce industry, we have integrated berry production across the spine of the Pacific coast line from British Columbia in the north to the southern tip of Chile,” he said.

Naturipe Farms CEO Dwight Ferguson said the merger of the two Naturipe Farms grower-owners will be a natural extension of the collaboration they have long enjoyed. “Both are leading berry companies, highly innovative with experienced and knowledgeable management teams who have consistently focused on exceptional customer and consumer experiences,” he said.

The merger, expected to be accomplished during the fourth quarter of 2016, is subject to conditions including approval by Hortifrut S.A. shareholders and various third parties, the release says.