Victor Bezanilla, owner of Agrícola La Palma - an associate exporter of Chileprunes - is confident that the transport and logistics problems suffered by food products in 2021 and 2022 could be coming to an end.
“The logistical issue appears to be fairly solved, as there are price or freight issues. Lately, prices are not bad.”
The high cost of the logistics chain last year, which was due to multifactorial factors, -such as the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine-, impacted the margins of the industry. This impact was lower on dried plum and greater on fresh plum, which is mainly destined for China, a country that is still strongly affected by the aftermath of the pandemic.
"In recent years, Chile has been the world's main exporter of dried plums, so there's no doubt that these logistics issues affect the country, especially considering how far it is from many destinations. In addition, it is an industry of very small margins, low profitability, and flat worldwide consumption in recent years, despite recent discoveries that highlight dried plums as a superfood.
Fortunately, since it's a non-perishable product, port and strike crises do not affect it much, unlike fresh fruit.
Agricola La Palma is relatively new to the plum business. Víctor Bezanilla (71 years old), who comes from the construction area where he remains the main shareholder of Besalco, a family business, acquired the fields in 2007 and planted his first hectares the following year.
Today, he has 440 hectares of production in one farm located in the Colchagua Valley, Region VI, an area that concentrates 70% of the country's European plum production. 280 hectares are devoted to plums, and the rest is used to produce Murcott mandarins, olives, corn, and wheat.
He exported his first dried plums in 2021, directly and indirectly - through other processors-. Now, he exports this product to Poland, the Netherlands, England, Lithuania, and Brazil.
“In 2022 we exported 600,000 to 800,000 kilos, and we project to reach 2.5 million kilos in the short term doing it directly as Agrícola La Palma. The idea is to only export dried plums because things haven't gone too well with fresh plums. We also plan to reach new destinations such as Mexico, China, and other countries in Europe.”
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