The walnut production in Chile has experienced a growth in the fiscal year 2013/2014, reports the German Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI) on its website. Not only the favourable weather conditions, but also the extension of the cultivation area in recent years has contributed to this.
More and more newly planted trees are entering production. But improved growing technologies such as pruning the trees or installing drip irrigation systems are also resulting in higher yields. In total over 50,000 tonnes of walnuts (with peel) could be harvested in 2013/14.
Estimates from the American Department of Agriculture (USDA) are based on the assumption of a growing area of 30,000 hectares, of which 23,000 hectares is in production. The main growing areas for walnuts are the central regions of Chile, such as the area around the capital. On average the walnut plantations are around 10 to 15 hectares and therefore twice the size of those in France, but only half the size of this in the US.
Most of the Chilean walnut production is exported. In 2012 Chile exported 35,000 tonnes of walnut (with peel) with a value of 197.5 million American dollars. The domestic consumption is at around 5,000 tonnes per year.