Australia’s cherry production could increase to 19 thousand metric tons

Australia’s cherry production could increase to 19 thousand metric tons

As for many countries, the past cherry season was not easy for Australians; workforce shortages, logistical problems caused by the pandemic and climate affected production and exports. However, according to the recent report delivered by the USDA, Australian cherry production is forecasted to increase to 19,000 metric tons (MT) for the 2022/23 season. In the 2021/22 season the figure reached 16,000.

The reason? Australia has seen a gradual increase in the area of cherry trees and an important part of those begin production this year. Furthermore, the winter has had optimum conditions in the main production areas for this fruit, which has allowed sufficient accumulation of cold hours, essential to start the new season.

Forecasts

According to the contemplated data in the aforementioned report, in Australia fresh cherry exports will increase moderately to 4,500 tons in the 2022/23 season; the prior season growth was 3,900 tons. However, it is estimated that the problems associated with transportation costs continue to be present, especially considering that Australia ships almost all (more than 99%) of its cherries by air.

Though it is clear that high freight costs will remain, the increase in exports could put a chill on a complex season. Said increase has two causes: first, the growth that production will have, and second, that the production of Tasmanian cherries depends upon the export market, since its harvest time falls outside the period of maximum national demand, which coincides with the days previous to Christmas. 

Where do Australian cherries go?

Asia is the main destination of Australian cherries; since they are relatively near, which is very different from the Chilean reality with respect to said market destination, primarily the shipments are by air which is more cost-effective in comparison to longer-haul destinations.

Main destinations:

-Hong Kong

-Vietnam

-Singapore

-Taiwan

-China

These destinations represent more than 75 percent of total exports. There has been a distancing from China over the last years, while the Hong Kong and Vietnam markets have gained prominence as destinations for Australian cherries.

Australia, in turn, imports cherries and they do this mainly from the United States; 1,800 MT of cherries are expected to reach Australia in the 2022-23 season; good information to consider for the Chilean cherry industry, in the complex attempt to diversify markets for the national cherry.

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