Land planted in mandarins in Chile increased significantly over the past 10 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently reported. In marketing year 2021–22, the area planted totaled 11,194 hectares, a 32.6% increase over 2019–20. A decade ago, planted mandarin area totaled only 3,629 hectares. The mandarin industry includes clementines and tangerines.
FAS said the planted area increased gradually as producers shifted to mandarins due to their high profitability and ability to adapt to the production area. Specifically, the W. Murcott variety became a viable alternative to replace other crops such as oranges or avocados. Chilean producers reportedly are looking to diversify their mandarins with varieties like Orogrande, Clemenules and Tango for export to markets such as China.
The mandarin production regions of Chile are similar to those that produce lemons and oranges. Almost half of the mandarin planted area, 5,309 hectares, is in the Coquimbo region. The O’Higgins region, in the central-south part of the country, holds 2,454 hectares, which represents 21.9% of the area planted. The Valparaiso region holds 5,321 hectares, which represents 20.7% of the area planted.
Chilean mandarin producers export around 83% of the commercial production; the remaining 17% are consumed domestically. Consumption of mandarins, and citrus in general, increased since 2019–20 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health-conscious Chilean consumers have flocked to citrus and other products believed to be high in vitamin C, FAS stated.
In Chile, the mandarin marketing year starts in April with the beginning of the harvest season. Chile exports mandarins from April to December. However, Chilean producers export the majority of mandarins between August and October, peaking in September.
Chilean imports of mandarins are relatively low compared to exports. In 2020–21, Chile imported 588 metric tons of mandarins, and 51.8% of those came from the United States. The remaining 48.2% came from Peru.
See the full USDA report on Chile’s citrus industry here.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service
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