According to an analysis by Cindy van Rijswick, from Rabobank, in the area of Fresh Produce, the world fruit market is growing rapidly and it is changing. Global trade in fresh fruit has grown faster than the overall global trade since 2010, at 6 percent a year. Growth is driven by new import markets, as well as by large traditional import markets. Increasingly, import markets not only require more fruit but also need different products, driven by changing consumer preferences and retail dynamics.
The United States continues to be the main driver of growth
A glance at the development of world imports of fresh fruit in absolute terms and percentage terms demonstrates how diverse the world fruit import markets are. "The most striking thing is that China is already the world's third largest fresh fruit import market and that it continues to grow rapidly. Countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have advanced rapidly as promising import markets," VAn Rijswick said.
Despite these markets, Cindy van Rijswick said, the United States continues to be the main engine of growth in the world market for fresh fruit, followed by the European Union. Despite the slow growth in percentage terms, the EU remains a constant market for fresh fruits and nuts.
Chile: a well-positioned supplier
"Chile is well positioned as a supplier in a world market for fresh fruits that has positive prospects and is full of opportunities," stated the analyst of Fresh Produce from Rabobank.
"It is the second largest nett exporter of fresh fruit in the world and the leading exporter of fruit in the southern hemisphere. In addition, it already ships its products to a wide range of countries. This position is based on high quality and professionalism," stated van Rijswick.
According to her analysis, despite its good position, "Chile needs to further intensify its game, there is no time to relax, as food retailers are increasingly more and more demanding and the global competitive landscape remains fierce. Chile's fruit sector needs to increase investments in new varieties of fruit and efficiency to take advantage of the global market opportunities. The strategies include organic production, among other things."
Fruit Technology Consortium
The Chilean export fruit industry has been working to generate new varieties of fruit through Genetic Improvement Programs carried out by the Fruit Technology Consortium.
In this regard, Sergio Maureira, Manager of the Fruit Technology Consortium, said: "This is a Consortium that works closely with the academia, through the Catholic University, the public sector, for example with the INIA and the economic support from Corfo, as well as with the private sector, represented by a group of fruit exporters / producers, and ASOEX."
Maureira said the organization currently had five Genetic Improvement Programs (GIPs): for stone fruits, apples, raspberries, cherries, and table grapes. To date, the stone GIP has selected 4 varieties of plums that have a very good resistance to browning after 45 days of post harvest; 3 nectarines with high potential and high quality preservation after 60 days of post harvest, and 2 varieties of peaches with 40 days of post harvest.
The GIP for apples has rendered 5 selections in commercial orchards from the sixth to ninth regions, three of which comply with quality standards and two that are resistant to Venturia. The GIP for cherries has approximately 23 thousand hybrids, 21 thousand of which are planted in Pirque, while the remaining still need to be planted. Of these, about 8 thousand are already in production and have been producing fruit since 2015.
The GIP for table grapes currently has 14 advanced selections. Eight of these selections have been evaluated for 3 years, while the remaining have been evaluated for 2 years, so there is a great possibility that one of them can become a variety.
Maureira made a special reference to the GIP for raspberries which released 3 varieties of raspberries: Santa Teresa, Santa Catalina and Santa Clara; which are being evaluated in orchards in Chile and Spain, and soon in Mexico.
He also spoke about the work to develop varieties through the Technological Program for the Fruit for Export of the South-Central Area, an initiative funded by Corfo and led by the Foundation for Fruit Development (FDF), the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX) and its product committees: the Blueberry Committee, and the Kiwi Committee. The Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA), the Catholic University of Chile, the University of Concepción and the Fruit Technology Consortium also participate in this program.
According to the Manager of the Committee, the goal of the program, in blueberries, is to improve the fruit yield and quality through varietal replacement, enhance an optimization of the management of the harvest of the new varieties, and improve the fruit's post harvest. Meanwhile, the goal in kiwis is to try to introduce new genetics of Actinia Sp with resistance to Psa.