Argentina: Cherry Exports to Asia grow 37% per season

Argentina: Cherry Exports to Asia grow 37% per season

Meanwhile, Argentina is the top cherry importer in the United Arab Emirates.

In a rapidly expanding global demand, Argentina has emerged as a quality player in supplying cherries to Asia and the Middle East. As part of our exploration into this thriving trade, Smartcherry talked with Anibal Caminiti, Executive Manager of the Integrated Producers Argentinean Cherries Association (CAPCI).

Argentinean cherries are produced in arid and cold environments, such as Patagonia. These cherries are distinguished by their health standards, high quality, excellent size, color and sweetness. It is offered between November and March, producing the most southern fruit in the world, cultivated in the ancient province of Santa Cruz – Patagonia. The offer of scoop fruit can be sent by air directly from Patagonia.

What has been the historical growth of Argentinean cherry exports to Asia in recent years?

During the 2018/19 season, Argentina opened the market in the People’s Republic of China for its cherries. Since then, the export share in the Asian continent has shown a significant increase, averaging 36.6% for the last 5 seasons.

What are the main Asian countries that import Argentinean cherries, and what is their market share?

The People’s Republic of China is the main Asian market, and in the last season, it was the primary destination for Argentinean cherries, accounting for 32% of the exported volume, followed by the United States with 31%. Other Asian markets that receive Argentinean cherries include Southeast Asian countries, with India being a smaller contributor.

What strategies are Argentinean producers and exporters implementing to improve the quality and competitiveness of their cherries in these Asian markets?

Quality improvement and competitiveness across all stages, from production to marketing, are ongoing priorities that cannot be neglected if one wants to thrive in a dynamic, demanding, and competitive business environment.

Initially targeting the Chinese market, the CAPCI developed a commercial quality protocol, setting a standard for premium fruit. Although the volume of Argentinean cherries in these markets is modest, the objective is to showcase their quality and unique identity, with 90% of the cherries coming from Patagonia. The region’s distinctive agroclimatic environment contributes to the particular organoleptic characteristics of the cherries.

What measures are being taken to ensure the freshness and quality of cherries during transportation and logistics until they reach Asia?

Around 70% of Argentinean exports are transported by air, ensuring freshness, firmness, and quality. These cherries are made available to consumers within a few hours. Most shipments to Asia are sent via Chilean ports using the “cherry express” method, and the handling of maritime fruit is similar to the logistics employed in Chile.

What are the future perspectives and projections for Argentinean cherry exports to these destinations?

While it’s challenging to make predictions in the current Argentinean context, it is certain that the cherry business is alive and holds promising prospects with existing demand. If there were ten times more cherries available, they would already be sold. The projected growth is moderate, cautious, and in line with the country’s political and economic developments. However, with predictability and stability, the Argentinean cherry sector has great potential for expansion.

United Arab Emirates

Argentina has become the top cherry importer in the United Arab Emirates, with 27% of the market share in 2022, which corresponds to 325 thousand kilograms valued at USD 1.4 million.

The most important thing, according to Anibal Caminiti, is not to be the first, but rather that Argentinean cherries are recognized for their quality. “Argentina does not have, nor can establish parameters of volume, but what matters is the efficiency of the work carried out by the producers and the quality of the product we can offer to consumers. Our goal is for consumers to identify and value these attributes.”

What factors have driven the increase in Argentinean cherry exports to the UAE?

For years, Argentina has established its presence with quality fruit in the Middle Eastern markets, exporting up to 9% of its total exports annually. The UAE is the primary destination for Argentinean cherries in the region, and long-established trade ties and recognition of the high quality of Argentinean cherries contribute to a strong regional presence.

What challenges and barriers do Argentinean exporters face when sending cherries to the UAE?

The pandemic disrupted air logistics to the region, but it did not hinder Argentina’s participation, as commitments were fulfilled. Gradually, airlines resumed operations, reestablishing routes and frequencies from Buenos Aires with commercial and cargo flights.

From a commercial perspective, Argentina faces no trade or phytosanitary barriers for its participation in the region.

How do prices and demand for Argentinean cherries in the UAE market compare to other international markets?

Argentinean cherries are well-regarded in the UAE market for their quality, and their price behavior is similar to other demanding markets of similar scale. Commercial channels in the UAE emphasize quality, and local consumers are willing to pay for high-quality cherries. The focus in these markets is on quality rather than volume.

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