"When tariffs are lowered, the consumption of Chilean nuts in India can really explode"

The rapid expansion of walnut cultivation in Chile in the last two decades has placed walnuts as the second fruit plantation with the largest presence in the country after cherries. The area devoted to walnuts in Chile has gone from nearly 7,000 hectares in the early 2000s, according to Odepa data, to 43,735 hectares in 2021, i.e. 12.4% of the country's fruit area.

Edmundo Valderrama, the president of ChileNut, a trade union that brings together producers of this fruit, said this has happened because walnuts have become attractive for producers thanks to their returns and low levels of risk, in part due to the lower consumption of water and the low levels of the perishability of the product. In addition, producers have the possibility of mechanizing the harvest. There are plantations from the Coquimbo Region to Araucania.

Like most fruits, the nut market is almost entirely focused on exports, which have also been growing exponentially over the years.

"Consumption in India can explode"
ChileNut's bet is clear. "If I had to prioritize, I would say India is my first, second, and third priority,” stated Valderrama. This is a relatively new market, as it was opened in 2015, but last year it already accounted for 14% of exports, with 21,000 tons shipped, he added.

In 2021, the country almost doubled its exports to India over 2020, even after India raised the import tariff on nuts from 30% to 100%. “When those tariffs are lowered, consumption can really burst and multiply several times, it's a really gigantic market.”

Germany is another important market for producers, as supermarkets in that country buy large quantities to supply their chains in other European countries.

Despite the positive performance of the nuts in recent years, the leader of ChileNut stressed that they were also impacted by the global problems that affect the sector: "At some point, we expected a certain increase in prices, but that isn't happening, especially because there's been an increase in the Chinese harvest. In addition, there's been an increase in costs. The price of fertilizers has doubled and that complicates things.”

Finally, Valderrama said, the crisis in marine transport and worldwide logistics is complicating operations and greatly increasing costs. "Nowadays, moving any container costs two to four times more than before," he stated.


Source: simfruit.cl

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