ProChile Netherlands seminar 2012 - Rotterdam

Chile looks to increase nut and dried fruit export

Thursday 18th October marked this year's ProChile seminar event in the Netherlands. This year's event was held at the Inntel Hotel in Rotterdam and focused on the nut and dried fruit sector.

The event was introduced by Christoph Desplas, Director of ProChile, The Netherlands. Christoph pointed out that Rotterdam was an excellent location for the event, as it is the hub from which much European import of Chilean produce is distributed.

Christoph stated that Europe was Chile's second most important export destination and that, as for most countries, Asia was growing in importance right now.

He was followed on the podium by Andres Rodriguez, Executive President of the Chilean Walnut Commission and Executive Vice President of the Chile Prunes Association.

Andres began his presentation to the delegation by considering "Why Chile?" He pointed out that Chile, though part of a continental landmass, can be perceived as an 'island', at least in phytosanitary terms. To the North there is desert, to the East mountains, to the West the Pacific Ocean and the South, Antarctica. He says this unique environment protects Chilean production from foreign pests and diseases. Couple this with the Mediterranean style weather that the country enjoys and, he says, you have a unique growing environment.

Of course it doesn't end there, Chile has a very free economy and political stability, paving the way for trade agreement with much of the globe. As a result of this the country already ranks highly as an exporter of many varieties of fresh fruit. It is now looking to extend this to nuts and dried fruits- in particular prunes and walnuts.

Pointing out the country's logistical benefits, Andres said, "As we are such a narrow country everywhere is close to the sea and we have high-tech ports, as well as a good highway network, which means there is always proximity to production."

Speaking of the prunes he says that there is currently around 15,000ha planted, yielding in the region of 72,000 tonnes, making Chile the world leader in the export of prunes.

"We harvest in February," he says, "but we process all year round so there is availability 365 days of the year."

The Chilean walnuts, he says, are cultivated over 25,000ha, which enables Chile to be the largest exporter of the nut in the Southern Hemisphere.

Andres pointed out that the country has some other advantages.

"The counter season is very important - Chile harvests when the Northern Hemisphere is over."

He explained that the country's production catered for all kinds of customer, offering shelled, in shell, mechanically shelled and manually shelled nuts, in a wide range of packaging.

He says Chilean walnuts are distinctive in both taste and appearance. They certainly are a very light colour, with the variety Chandler most often cultivated and, Andres says, the nuts are less bitter than those from some areas of the world.

Chile currently exports walnuts to 40 markets, but topping the list currently are Turkey, Brazil, Italy, the UAE, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

The event also offered the chance to hear from some of the companies involved in the cultivation and supply of walnuts and prunes from Chile. These were Anakena, Fruta America, Pacific Nut, Prunesco, Valbifrut and Valvalle.

To see a full photoreport click here.

For more information:
Walnuts from Chile
Tel: + 56 2 4724 783


Prunes from Chile
Tel: +56 2 4724 783

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