( USDA )

Chile’s fresh apple and grape exports will drop by just over 5% in the 2018-19 season, according to a new estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.

The report said fresh apple exports will reach 739,000 metric tons in marketing year 2018-19, 5% lower than 2017-18. Chile’s planted area for apples declined 4.2% in 2018-19. The USDA reported the decrease in apple planted area is a result of low profits caused by international competition from other southern hemisphere exporting countries and demand for new apple varieties.

In addition, the report said Chilean apple producers continue to replace apple orchards with more profitable alternative crops such as cherries and walnuts.

Table grape exports will slide to 690,000 metric tons, according to the USDA, 5.5% than 2017-18.

Table grape planted area in 2018-19 dropped 0.8% compared with 2017-18, the report said, as a result of increasing competition from Peruvian table grapes in the U.S.

Chilean pear exports in the 2018-19 season will decline 1.5% to 127,000 metric tons compared with 2017-18. The report said Chile’s pear planted area in 2018-19 declined 3.8% less than 2017-18. However, with the opening of the Chinese market for Chilean fresh pears, the report estimates that planted area could reverse the decrease trend and start increasing in 2019-20.