The opening of Asian markets to Uruguayan citrus consolidates the continent as a new destination for these fruits. The country has been exporting its citrus fruits to China since 2017. In addition, it has conducted a pilot experience in India. With the authorization of the Philippines and Vietnam markets in 2020, Uruguay will complete the route it had defined for its citrus fruits in Asia, stated the director of the General Directorate of Agricultural Services (DGSA), Federico Montes.
The international insertion of Uruguayan citrus fruit in the Asian continent was defined in 2010, Montes stated. Back then, the sector's Strategic Plan was prepared with the objective of seeking a complement to the markets where the country already operated, such as the European Union (EU), the main destination of citrus fruits; the United States market (US ), which was enabled in 2013 after many negotiations; and the Russian Federation, the world's first importer of fruits.
"The challenge was to work the Asian market for mandarins through a varietal reconversion, which was added to the program of genetic improvement of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA)," he said. Producing a type of mandarin that tasted more similar to what the Asian market required was key to this. It required achieving a certain flavor, having a fruit that adapted well to long trips, and that had very little or no seeds.
First agreement on safety
The agreement for the export of citrus fruit to Vietnam will be the first agreement that Uruguay signs for its citrus industry that has a safety component, both regarding water quality and agrochemical waste, including all certifications, such as Global GAP and other actions of the MGAP.
Montes also highlighted "the solid progress made in the area of traceability, in the rational use of agrochemicals and other alternative products, as in the case of biological controllers and pheromones."
Finally, he said that Uruguay must be a country that produces quality and safe food as in a short period of time the import markets will only buy products from those nations that respect health and the environment. "Now we have the opportunity to conquer the center where the world's citrus production originated with our product's flavor, quality and safety," he concluded.