Chile: The dried fruit industry faces declining production

Located in the heart of the production area of plums in Chile, 120 km south of Santiago, Octanis SA is engaged in the production, processing and export of dried fruit. Their offer includes plums with or without seeds as well as raisins in all of its varieties.

"We have several niche products," said Carlos Guzmán, representative of Octanis SA. "For example, to the German market, we send dried prunes of the D'agen variety that comply with specific requirements for the energy bar industry, muesli and such products."

One of the challenges the company is facing this year is the low production, as the Chilean market has 30% less fruit.

"We estimated a harvest of 62,000 tons. Last year we exported 75,000 tons and this year will get to, more or less, 50,000 tons. This decline in production is mainly due to the climate, there is little cold, which causes the fruit not to develop," said Guzman.

Chile controls about 30% of the global market for dried plums, so this drop in production has consequences. "When there is little fruit, the sizes are larger, the raw material is more expensive and international prices also go up," said Guzman. "Unfortunately, the rising price of raw material is not 100% reflected in the sales price of the fruit." Another big challenge for Octanis SA, is to maximize the production capacity of its processing plant, which is two years in operation.

"We have an estimated production for this year of a million kilos, while the plant has a production capacity of three million kilos. That's our plan; we designed the plant with the latest technology, in order to achieve those numbers. In parallel, we are implementing a line of raisins with the same features, with which, in its first year we hope to reach an estimated production of 300,000 kilos. The line was designed to process 3 million kilos. "The plants potential isn't being exploited because of the market, as plums enjoy a very good demand, but because of the shortage of raw materials.

"Chile consumes less than 5% of its production and exports the remaining 95-97%. Our company has its own production and associated producers. We are always focused in finding ways to increase our exports and Chile's, "Guzman concluded.

For more information:
Carlos Guzman
Octanis S.A.
+56 2 2435 9100

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