Big Boost for Chilean Mandarin Production

Josh McGillCrop Forecast, International, Mandarins

Mandarin production in Chile is projected to increase by 39.4% in 2022–23, to 237 million tons (MT) compared to the prior year’s 170 MT. Production was low the previous year due to frost in the growing area. The mandarin projection includes clementines and tangerines. The forecast was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service’s (USDA FAS) annual citrus report for Chile.

mandarin production
W. Murcott is one of Chile’s top mandarin varieties. (Photo courtesy of US Citrus)

In 2021–22, the mandarin planted area in Chile totaled 11,194 hectares, a 32.6% increase over 2020–21. The planted area increased significantly in the past 10 years due to high profits for mandarins. Specifically, the W. Murcott variety became a viable alternative to replace other crops such as oranges, tables grapes and avocados. Chilean producers also are planting new mandarin varieties like Orogrande, Clemenules and Tango.

The Coquimbo region is the top mandarin production are in Chile, holding 5,309 hectares, or 47.4% of planted area. The O’Higgins and Valparaiso regions, in the central part of the country, hold 21.9% and 20.7% of planted area, respectively.

In 2022–23, exports are projected to increase by 38.9%, totaling 200,000 MT, due to an increase in planted area and a return to normal yields.

Chile exports mandarins from April until December. However, Chilean producers export most mandarins between August and October, peaking in September.

The United States is the top export market for mandarins. In 2020–21, Chile exported 183,957 MT to the United States, which represented 94.9% of exports. Other markets for Chilean mandarins are Canada, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico.

Chilean import volume of mandarins is low compared to exports. In 2020–21, Chile imported 588 MT of mandarins, and 51.8% of those came from the United States. The remaining 48.2% came from Peru.

Source: USDA FAS

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