Chile: The organic sector is strategic for exports

Chilean authorities continue to make progress in the organic products sector, which is considered strategic for export. Not only did they sign an agreement of equivalences in 2017 with the European Union, but were also recently visited by a US delegation headed by the US ambassador in Chile, Carol Perez, with the aim of expanding shipments.

Currently, the main destinations for Chilean organic products are the United States and the European Union, which receive around 50% and 35%, respectively, of all shipments.

In Latin America, the export market continues to be the main destination for organic production, according to a European Union report. In this regard, Chile achieved two significant advances in 2017: an agreement with the EU for equivalence between its certification regulations, which will allow it to export any Chilean organic product to Europe in the first half of this year with a Chilean stamp and certifications, and an Organic Seal, which favors the expansion of the market.

According to Claudio Cardenas, the head of the Organic Agriculture Department of the SAG, "the equivalence means Chile is a reliable supplier, the first of its kind in Latin America, and our certification standards will be equivalent to those of the recipient country in all its standards." He also said that they were working out a similar agreement with the United States.

That country accounts for 33% of the total fresh fruits exported by Chile to the world, which makes it Chile's main destination market, stated the president of ASOEX, Ronald Bown, who accompanied the US delegation in their visit to orchards, packing facilities and process plants of the Greenvic, AMA Time, and Viña Santa Emiliana companies.

According to Jorge Salazar, the manager of the Southern Area at Greenvic -one of the largest organic production companies in Chile-, the visit of the US delegation was important as they could showcase the company's work in organic fresh fruits and their agroindustrial line of organic fruit purees, pulps, and fruit juices under the AMA Time brand.

Chile produces 1.3 million boxes of organic products and Greenvic alone produces close to 1 million boxes. According to the Export Manager for the US market, Ignacio Guilisasti, 20 to 25% of the company's total fresh fruit production is of organic fruit: "We work with apples, grapes, plums, pears, kiwis, and organic blueberries, and starting next year we will also work with nuts."

In the last quarter of 2016, Chile had 5,979 hectares of certified organic production devoted to major fruit trees, mainly of apple trees, kiwis, walnuts, lemons, and avocados, among others. It also had 2,478 hectares of minor fruit trees, the three most important species being blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry.

According to information from the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (ODEPA) published in 2017, 179 countries worldwide produce organic products, with a total area of ​​90.6 million hectares, and the USA is the third country with the highest organic production in the world. However, the countries affiliated to the Inter-American Commission on Organic Agriculture (CIAO) account for 90% of the organic surface in the Americas, and more than 20% worldwide.

A study by Euromonitor - a global market research company - ensures that the world organic food market is growing and generates new possibilities every year, with global sales close to 90 billion dollars.


Publication date: 1/30/2018

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