Who said growers and technicians do not keep up to date? Sanifrutta, a cooperative part of OP Joinfruit, organised a visit to Chile and 34 growers from the Cuneo province as well as a couple from Valle d'Aosta took part.
Technical manager Alex Tallone organized the tour. "It was an educational experience. We were welcomed with great kindness by the main companies producing and exporting cherries, apples, pears and kiwifruit."
The purpose of the mission in South America was precisely this: observing how the Chileans have become among the leading cherry producers exporting produce all over the world and to Asia in particular. Thanks to technology and innovation, the Chilean produce reaches all markets and producers obtain an excellent GSP per hectare. Harvesting occurs during the Chinese New Year, a country where this type of fruit is particularly appreciated.
"Between 9th and 17th December, we visited companies located between Santiago and Linares. The first thing that we noticed was the average size of companies, which are much bigger than in Italy (up to 200-300 hectares). Production and planting costs are slightly lower as, thanks to the favorable weather, it is rare to find covers against rain or hail. Spring is not very rainy, so they have fewer cracking problems."
Of course the produce must keep well for 30-40 days, as exports are performed mainly by ship to Asia. "Thanks to varietal innovation, they can produce large crunchy cherries resistant to cracking and with a long shelf-life. But it would not be enough to export them, so the storage, pre-grading and packaging phases are crucial. We have seen the Italian Unitec technology in use almost everywhere, as it is considered a leading company in Chile. The particular care they put into packaging and cooling operations means quality is exceptional."
Alex Tallone, Alberto Boschero and Fabrizio Barale
Over the past few years, Sanifrutta has been working on a project to develop cherry production in Piedmont with the objective of obtaining considerable volumes and an extra quality over the next 5-7 years. "This visit enabled us to observe how one of the main producers on a global level works and how the development of such an important crop (around 40,000 hectares and 200 thousand tons exported in 2018) can be of key importance for the profitability of companies," stressed Alberto Boschero, Joinfruit technicians.
Sanifrutta Vice-president Fabrizio Barale added that "this trip showed us how Chile is dynamic and open to technology and innovation. Up until 10 years ago, we came here to see how they grew apples and kiwifruits, while cherries have become the country's main production in just a few years."
The tour also included visits to the cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar and an excursion in Valle de Casablanca, an important wine-making area around 100 km from Santiago.
Alex Tallone and Alberto Boschero
via dei Falchi, 13
Costigliole Saluzzo (CN)
Tel.:+39 0175 230061