Plum producers, exporters, and industries nucleated in different chambers and associations formalized the creation of a cluster that promotes actions, in search of greater competitiveness and sales for the entire value chain.
Opening markets, propping up prices, and applying technological improvements are some of the first challenges faced by producers in the southern areas of San Rafael and General Alvear, which account for almost 85% of Mendoza's prune production.
"The program invites us to re-think the sector and think about strategies of joint work. There are many challenges, but we are willing to join forces," stated Marcelo Yangosian of the Directorate of Programs and Social and Special Projects of the National Secretariat of Agribusiness.
The group was created after the ProMendoza Foundation reported that in 2018 prune exports increased by 55% over the previous year, and that their main destination were the United States, Brazil, Russia, and the Emirates.
According to official data, "there are 4,000 prune producers in the province of Mendoza, 490 dryers, and 15 dryer industries with drying and shelling technology."
"80 to 85% of the production is concentrated in the oasis of the south zone, specifically in San Rafael and General Alvear."
The initial project was for the development of dried plums, but producers asked to extend the concept to the industrialized plum in order to cover a greater part of the productive chain.
According to the undersecretary of Agriculture and Livestock, Alejandro Zlotolow, the purpose is "to look beyond the current juncture, to give it a strategic focus and develop initiatives in the medium and long term."
"This is the creation of a cluster, a different work methodology, where all of the actors involved in the value chain propose solutions to the challenges they face while the technical institutions provide another type of solutions," Yangosian stated.
"The program invites us to re-think the sector and think about strategies of joint work. He also acknowledged that given the problems of profitability, small-scale solutions will be achieved through partnership and cooperation strategies, looking at examples from other countries and participating in business rounds and fairs to expand the international presence and open markets.