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"The conditions for Argentina to be a power in cherries currently do not exist"

According to Adolfo Storni, the president of Extraberries and Argentinian Cherries, berry production in Neuquen and Rio Negro faced strong contrasts last year.

On the positive side, the international price and the quality markets to which the local fruit achieved access; however, the national tax policy generated complications for local producers.

Speaking to the Chacra TV program, the businessman said the weather had also affected the activity. "The rains in the last years, which were due to climate change, affected the production," Storni, who estimated exports decreased by 20 percent, said.

He also complained about certain aspects of the tax policy (withholdings, reduction of reimbursements etc.), as they had tightened their costs.

The businessman highlighted the good international prices and the quality of the markets. "As every year, Chile concentrates on China, so we can focus on markets such as the United States, Canada, and Europe," he said.

He acknowledged that the opening of the Chinese market to Argentina was a very advanced step, but said there still was a lot to work on. "Chile exported 100,000 tons this year, while we didn't even export 3,000 tons, so we have to grow and develop more," he said.

"The future is promising, as long as we carry out different initiatives, such as improving the quality and packaging processes. We producers have the diagnosis and know what the market demands. Unfortunately the country's context does not help, and there are no conditions to invest," he added.

He also said that Argentina could plant thousands of hectares of cherries and that there are many areas in Patagonia that have that potential for production. "However, we are currently not doing it because investing in leveling the soil, plants, and anti-freeze systems demands thousands of dollars and a 10 years amortization; the conditions for Argentina to be a power in cherries currently do not exist," the businessman stated.


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