Domestic cherries will reach 650000 tons in 2022/23 quarter, and the import volume is expected to decline by 6%
By: Date: 2022-07-27 Categories: chinesefood Tags: ,

  Cherry planting in China
At present, Shandong, Shaanxi and Liaoning are still the three major cherry producing areas in China, and the southwest province led by Sichuan has formed another major cherry producing area. In Shandong, the largest production area, cherry production is expected to decrease by 20%to 30%due to high temperature and drought during pollination. However, the output growth in other cherry producing areas, especially in the southwest and northwest provinces, will offset the reduction in Shandong. As the newly planted cherry trees begin to bear fruit, it is expected that the output of cherry, including greenhouse, will continue to increase in the next few years. According to the growers, the continued epidemic has little impact on Cherry planting and production. However, the logistics disruption and soaring fuel prices caused by the epidemic have pushed up international and domestic transportation costs.
It is reported that cherry is the most profitable fruit in China, and good market returns have prompted farmers in many provinces to plant cherries. At present, cherry production has been extended to Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces. Since the government banned the conversion of grain fields into orchards, the planting area of traditional cherry producing provinces (such as Shandong and Liaoning) remained stable, while the cherry planting area in the West continued to expand. The local government has included cherry planting in the poverty alleviation plan of farmers in underdeveloped counties. Most growers operate small orchards, but some private enterprises enter this field through land transfer, usually investing in Greenhouse Cherry Production and aiming at the high-end market.
Almost all cherries grown in China belong to the sweet cherry family, and most of them are early and medium mature varieties, such as beauty early, red lantern, Brooks, summit, Russia 8, van, black pearl, Santina and Rainier, as well as late maturing Lapins. Cherries are mainly harvested from the beginning of May to the end of July, while greenhouse cherries have extended their production season from February to late July. Large scale Cherry Variety change has not yet appeared, but some growers are gradually replacing traditional varieties such as red light with Russian No. 8, Brooks and Kordia.
In the 2022/23 season, the output of domestic cherries is expected to be 650000 tons, an increase of 8%over the previous season, and the quality is generally good. However, Shandong cherry is smaller and tastes sour due to abnormal weather. The quality of domestic cherries (especially their size and appearance) has been significantly improved in the past decade, but spring frost and summer rain still pose a potential threat to the production and quality of northern cherries. For traders, it is still a challenge to purchase cherries from small orchards that are consistent with the collection of varieties and quality. Due to the lack of pre cooling and refrigerated transportation, the shelf life of domestic cherries is usually much shorter than that of imported cherries.
  Cherry imports in China
China’s cherry imports are expected to decline by nearly 6%to 300000 tons in the 2022/23 quarter. Traders face higher transportation costs, more inspection and disinfection and sterilization procedures, and novel coronavirus related testing in the whole cold chain transportation link. Cherry is a high-value and perishable fruit. Any delay will seriously affect the quality of imported cherries. As China’s largest supplier of cherries, Chile said it would invest in developing new markets and expected production to decline. The total amount of cherries exported from the second largest supplier, the United States, to China is also expected to decline, due to significant production cuts, logistics problems related to the COVID-19 and retaliatory tariffs. From March 2, 2020, the United States’ cherry tax rate will return to 25%, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, which have free trade agreements with China, will have zero tariffs, and Canada and other countries’ tariffs will be 10%.
Due to quality problems, cherry imports from other suppliers in the northern hemisphere (such as Uzbekistan and Canada) were relatively flat. Turkey is one of the major cherry suppliers in the northern hemisphere. Due to the detection of quarantine pests in cherries exported from Turkey, the General Administration of Customs of China suspended the import of cherries from Turkey in August 2020. At present, the ban is still in effect.
The peak of cherry import occurred around the Chinese new year from January to February, when the domestic cherry supply was limited, and the southern hemisphere production season was at its peak. The second peak occurred in July and August after the end of the domestic cherry season, and the output of northern hemisphere countries such as the United States, Canada and Uzbekistan reached a peak. Most Chilean cherries arrive in China by sea, while other countries, especially the United States, New Zealand and Australia, use air transportation. Congestion and container shortages in major ports around the world have seriously affected the supply chain. It is reported that some large Chinese importers chartered 4000 tons of Chilean fruits, including blueberries, cherries, nectarines, grapes and plums, in early 2022 to ensure supply. Cherry exports in the northwest of the United States also face port congestion. More than 80%of the cherries in the northwest of the United States arrive in China by charter flights and air freight during the 2021 harvest season.
Chinese consumers have low brand awareness of imported cherries, but they will distinguish according to the country of origin. American cherries enjoy a high reputation in China’s fresh fruit industry and consumers, while Chile invests millions of dollars every year to promote Chilean cherries in China. Through various online and offline activities, many consumers in China’s first tier cities have a preliminary understanding of the size based classification standard of Chilean cherries, and will use this information when selecting imported cherries. Some traders speculate that a better understanding of the grading system in the United States will help consumers choose high-quality cherries. Last quarter, the Chilean trade association began marketing in the second and third tier cities and carried out marketing activities in the wholesale markets in Kunming and Nanchang.
  Cherry Market Analysis
Chinese consumers prefer dark red cherries with high sweetness. As a high-value fruit, the domestic supply of cherry in China still cannot meet the demand, and the consumption is expected to continue to rise, especially in the more developed cities in the East and south. The consumption of cherry in China in 2022/23 is expected to be about 950000 tons, up 3.5%from 918000 tons in the previous quarter. Shanghai is the main consumption and distribution center of cherries. The closure of Shanghai in the first half of the year and the disruption of domestic logistics caused by the COVID-19 have seriously affected cherry consumption in the Yangtze River Delta.
Cherry prices generally rose in 2022/23 compared with the previous quarter, mainly due to the reduction in supply from Shandong, the largest producer. According to the data of China Fruit Circulation Association, the purchase price of domestic meizao cherry in June increased by an average of 30%over the same period last year. A grower in Shandong pointed out that the price of chemical fertilizer increased by 30%and the price of labor increased by 20%over the previous year, which pushed up the production price, while the average wholesale price increased by only 17%in the same period. At the same time, the price of greenhouse cherries remains strong. According to industry reports, the purchase price of Dalian Greenhouse Cherry reached 600 yuan/kg in February, but the transaction volume was very small.