Dried Fruit

Prunes: El Niño causes early budding

September 7, 2023 at 3:04 PM , Der AUDITOR
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SANTIAGO. Chile is planning to increase its cooperation with Indian buyers in order to establish prunes on the Indian market. Meanwhile, warmer-than-average temperatures are causing the blossom to start earlier.

Free passage to India

Negotiations took a long time and now the efforts of the Chilean prune association Chileprunes over the past five years are bearing fruit: in future, India will be another Asian country on the list of important customer markets. Until now, phytosanitary regulations had put a stop to this. This is according to a letter from the Indian Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (DA&FW) to the (Directorate Of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (DPPQ&S) stating that tenderized prunes on offer from Chile are a processed item and therefore do not require plant quarantine authorization (no phytosanitary certificate required).

The chairman of Chileprunes, Pedro Pablo Díaz, adds that "our (prunes) industry will have a substantive role in the entire negotiation process that is coming between Chile and India in the short term and in various commercial areas, and where we call on our authorities to put these activities at the top of your priorities. Thank ProChile, our allies for going out to show the world the real potential of our industry. Months and years of hard work are coming that will surely bear fruit.”

In the first half of 2023, a total of 25,617 mt of prunes worth USD 104.44 million were exported from Chile, the main customer being China with 5,817 mt (USD 19.04 million), followed by Germany with 3,455 mt (USD 15.86 million) and Mexico with USD 2,360 (USD 8.69 million).

Early flowering in Chile

Chileprune experts, meanwhile, are worried about the development of the plum trees and the impact on the 2024 crop. According to reports, it was not sufficiently cold for long enough during the winter months. This circumstance could cause the plum trees to start flowering around seven to ten days earlier than usual. In fact, they are already budding locally. The experts emphasised, however, that an earlier harvest is not bad per se, but a large degree of uneven developmental stages becomes problematic, as it can prevent fruit from forming in the first place. It is now up to the farmers to counteract this with appropriate equipment.

The weather phenomenon El Niño, which is responsible for the warm temperatures in winter, should also ensure that frost does not do much damage to the crop. At the same time, however, above-average temperatures with too little precipitation could become problematic.

German imports from Chile up by almost 70%

Overall, prune imports to Germany in June 2023 were 809 mt, compared to 741 mt in June 2022 - an increase of 9%. Of particular note are imports from the USA, which fell by 15% year-on-year to 200 mt, while the volume of imports from Chile rose to 470 mt, an increase of a whopping 170%.

In total, 8,543 mt of prunes were imported into Germany between September 2022 and June 2023, an increase of almost 5% compared to the same period last year. While shipments from Chile and Serbia were significantly higher year-on-year, imports from countries such as the USA, the Netherlands, France, Turkey and Uzbekistan were down overall.

Prune* imports, Germany, in mt









































Federal Statistical Office of Germany / Sep-Jun

*08132000 Dried prunes

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