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Chile: Fresh asparagus exports resume after 15 years

Los Angeles' exporter, Agrofine, dispatched the first 10 fresh asparagus pallets from the local Frutemu plant in San Carlos after more than 15 years in which a Chilean company did not do so.

Frutemu processed the asparagus of the Los Angeles' producers Ernesto Hüne and Leonor Wyneken, who managed to harvest the asparagus in fresh cut (23 centimeters in length) to send to the United States market.

The product that travels in five kilogram boxes (11 packs of 450 grams) will enter Santiago airport on Saturday, reason which on Monday it will already be available in North American supermarkets, according to Felipe Hidalgo, general manager of Agrofine.

According to the executive, today the returns make fresh exports profitable via air. "Until last season we could not compete with the cost of air freight from Peru, but today four things have happened: the cost of airfreight is almost equal to that of Peru, the Peruvian offer decreased by around 30% due to the ageing of its asparagus, in Chile there are only three thousand hectares and demand increases every year. " 

He added that "This is just beginning and you have to know how to do it responsibly, carefully using the available windows, which can occur in September and October, since in November and December we have Peru's peak and Mexico enters in January." 

The professional said that the increase in World demand and the fall in supply motivated them to dare to export. "Cool is here to stay, as producers must make both formats (fresh and frozen) in order to get better returns in the years that is frozen and vice versa. You must be prepared for both operations. Another reason is that the asparagus grows several centimeters every day and on those days when it is not harvested, like Sunday for example, we have a Monday with long asparagus, ideal for a fresh (the cut for a frozen one is 18 cm and for fresh is 23 cm, so the producer receives a higher return making fresh harvests). " 

Hidalgo was optimistic about the projections. "The next step is to start taking fresh asparagus by boat from Chile. Today transit times are shorter than 15 years ago, so we can easily regain competitiveness with Peru. "

Hidalgo said that last week the price registered a historic increase in the United States of US $ 50 for the box of 5 kilos. "However, this week it is already falling due to the arrival of the first Peruvian ships. We are competitive with sales over the US $ 30 per box, which gives producer's a return between 2 to 3 dollars per kilo, which is considerably higher than the $ 900 to $ 1,000 that is being offered frozen today. "

Source: ladiscusion.cl

Publication date: 10/3/2017


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