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The Chilean Blueberry Committee's mission arrives in Dubai
In order to generate new contacts with importers, distributors, wholesale markets and retail chains, the Blueberry Committee of Chile, an entity that operates under the umbrella of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX), carried out its first mission to Dubai, the economic capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
On this occasion, the national delegation - composed of the Executive Director of the Blueberries Committee, Andrés Armstrong; ASOEX Marketing Director for Asia and Europe, Charif Christian Carvajal; ProChile Commercial Attaché in UAE, Sharif Chacoff; and representatives of Chilean blueberry export companies - toured the wholesale market in Dubai, retail chains, holding key meetings with importers and distributors of fresh fruit from this market.
Activities in the Dubai Emirate began with a meeting with ProChile's Commercial Attaché in UAE, Sharif Chacoff, who gave details of the market and the potential for Chilean blueberries during the meeting. In this sense, Chacoff stressed that the Middle East's desert features make it highly dependent on imported food, and mainly, perishables such as fresh fruit. If we take into account that the 6 countries that are members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait) import 90% of their food, and have a greater stability in the region  to make business as they have an average per capita GDP that is higher than the rest of the Arab countries (USD 72,000). As such, we can understand the opportunities that this region presents to Chile in fruit, since most of the Chilean competitors are in the off season, with the exception of South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil, and Argentina.
He added that while the demand for fruit is continuing throughout the year, it grows during Ramadam, "because fruits are especially suitable to break the daily fast of the Muslim world," he said. The representative of ProChile also stressed the need to be present in the market. Long distance businesses are very ineffective, especially if there are no preferential tariffs for any country (0% for all suppliers). Cultivating a relationship of trust and understanding the dynamics of the market becomes relevant not only for commercial prospects, but for the maintenance of business, in a market where margins are not abundant. That is why this mission is vital, "he said.
In the same vein, Andrés Armstrong, Executive Director of the Committee of Blueberries stated: "As a committee, our objective is to open new markets, diversify channels and provide greater opportunities to exporters, so during this visit, what we have strengthened was the rapprochement with importers, distributors, and retailers, as well as the delivery of information about our blueberries, their characteristics and availability.
"We have fulfilled a hectic and full agenda in Dubai, where we have met with importers of the Al Aweer Fresh Fruit Market and representatives of national retail chains such as Spinneys and Lulu, who have the ability to import fresh blueberries", added Armstrong.
On the other hand, Charif Christian Carvajal commented: "Emirates is an interesting and growing market for blueberry consumption, especially conventional, because the market for organic blueberry is still very incipient. In addition, it is a market focused on quality and price, therefore, today importers are looking for the best price-quality ratio in blueberries. Therefore, establishing rapprochement with importers is vital for our blueberries, and in this context we meet with the managers of one of the leading importers of fresh fruit and vegetables in Dubai. "
Carvajal added that during the meetings there were three key messages of the national industry. Firstly, to emphasize the off-season Chilean supply, and therefore, complementary to imports that the Emirates makes of this fruit, especially the United States and Canada. A second point was to highlight the history of Chile as a global supplier of fresh fruits, which places it as the leading exporter in the world of fruits such as blueberries, table grapes and cherries, as well as the largest exporter in the southern hemisphere of fresh fruits in general. A third aspect to highlight was the industry's commitment to emerging markets, such as the United Arab Emirates.
It should be noted that the delegation will continue to travel to New Delhi and Mumbai, where it will also hold meetings with importers, distributors and retailers.
Publication date: 9/6/2017
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