Via Chile

Argentina: Neuquen will export 400 tons of cherry to the world

According to the executive director of the Argentine Chamber of Integrated Cherry Growers (CAPCI), Aníbal Caminiti, cherries exports from Neuquen, which are sent to the Asian market through Chile, grew this year when compared to exports in 2016.

Although the season hasn't ended yet, estimates are that the region will have exported some 1,600 tons of this fruit this year, i.e. 400 more than last year. This amount, added to the 1200 tons that Rio Negro is expected to contribute, makes the region Argentina's largest exporter of cherries.

"We had already achieved a very good volume of exports last year, but exports are increasing because there are companies that were not operating in 2016 and that now are," said Caminiti.

Regarding the mechanics to output this production, the representative of the CAPCI said there were advantages to taking them through Chile, as there were direct maritime routes between Chile and Asia and vessels that only transported cherries. This means that the duration of the trip is shortened by 50 percent, which helps preserve the quality of the fruit, reduces costs, and allows the product to have better prices than the cherry that comes from other countries.

Regarding other transport mechanisms, such as charter or airline flights, Caminiti said that the existing flights from Neuquen to Santiago were not well designed for perishable cargo, as they had been designed for passengers, had little storage capacity, and that the current frequencies didn't coincide with the departure times at the ports. However, he said, they expect this could be adapted to the needs of the sector to add new export alternatives in the future. He also spoke about the possibilities of charter flights from Neuquen to the final destinations. He said they had already carried out some test runs and that they needed to recondition the hangars, which must conserve the cold chain. As such, the Copade already presented a project to the National Government to do this, as it must authorize the works so that this operation can start.

Argentina currently markets its cherries to many different countries, such as Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and India. A few weeks ago, a group of phytosanitary inspectors from Thailand visited the region, so the country could soon be exporting its cherries to that destination, and this year the Indonesian market was opened. "We are exploring more and more in Asian countries," said Caminiti. "We are interested in charter flights from Neuquen especially because of China, as we can ship 100-110 tons in them," he added.


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