Argentine cherry exports grow alongside China's economic recovery
Published: Jan 29, 2021 03:31 PM

A visitor poses for photos at the Argentina pavilion during the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2019.Photo:Xinhua

China's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has benefited the production and export of cherries in Argentina, which has seen a 33 percent increase in shipments to the Asian country, according to the Argentine Chamber of Integrated Cherry Producers (CAPCI).

Among the factors that have prompted the South American country to record a rebound in its foreign sales are the opening of the Chinese market, Argentina's off-season harvest and the recognition by Chinese health authorities of the Argentine cherry producing region as pest free area for fruit flies, said CAPCI's Executive Manager Anibal Caminiti on Thursday in an interview with Xinhua.

"The opening of the Chinese market has been very important for Argentine cherries," Caminiti said, adding that shipments to China in the latest season have amounted to 2,742 tons as of Sunday.

The first shipment of cherries from Argentina to China was delivered by sea in January 2019, followed by a second batch transported by air in the same month.

Currently, 15 Argentine companies are shipping fruit to China produced in the Patagonia region, the southern areas of Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz, and the western province of Mendoza.

Regarding the handling of shipments amid the pandemic, Caminiti said, "there is a guarantee validated by Chinese authorities of the procedure for our cherries to properly reach the market."

In April 2020, China recognized the absence of the fruit flies in the Argentine cherry region. It also ratified the opening of its market to different Argentine products in the first year of the pandemic.

"For us, this shows Chinese government's responsibility to provide continuity for international business," Caminiti added.

According to the chamber manager, Argentine cherry has a long export season since the country has "a very extended supply that goes from the end of October to the end of February, which allows us to position ourselves in the markets with an early and a late fruit."

Thanks to soil and climate conditions in Patagonia, quality of cherries produced there are guaranteed, making "the Argentine supply at the same level of fruit from Australia or New Zealand," he said.

About 35 percent of the total production of the Argentine cherry is destined for China, according to CAPCI data, while other destinations include North America, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Africa.