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China verifies the safety of Chilean cherries

In order to check the Chilean cherries' export process for the Chinese market in the field, the Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Furche, and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Chile, Li Baorong, visited the facilities of Agricola Garces, one of the largest exporters of cherries in the country, located in San Francisco Mostazal in the Region of O'Higgins.

On the occasion, the visitors were able to appreciate the process and the high technology used to ensure that the Chilean cherries arrive in China in the best condition, maintaining their sweet taste and health parameters for Chinese consumers, and for consumers in other parts of the world. They also oversaw a shipment of Chilean cherries to the Asian country.

The national director of the SAG, Angel Sartori; the president of the Fruit Exporters Association of Chile AG (Asoex), Ronald Bown; the general manager of Agricola Garces, Hernan Garces, the head of the Division of Agricultural and Forest Protection of the SAG, Astete Rodrigo, and the president of Fedefruta, Luis Schmidt, also participated in the activity. Other people in the tour included Miguel Canala-Echeverria, general manager of Asoex, and Juan Carlos SepĂșlveda, general manager of Fedefruta, among other professionals of the Ministry of Agriculture, the SAG, and Agricola Garces.

The Chilean cherries will arrive in China on the eve of the Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated on January 28, 2017, something that the ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Chile, Li Baorong, highly valued. "Having a box of Chilean cherries is ideal for the new year because they are very famous and they are a great gift for family and friends. For example, I was taking my holidays in January and everybody invited me to eat Chilean cherries because it is a gift and a symbol of cooperation between Chile and China."

"The Chilean cherries have an excellent taste and a large size that goes hand in hand with the celebrations of the Chinese New Year," said Baorong.

In turn, the Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Furche, stated: "Cherry production is one of the main lines of growth of the Chilean fruit sector. We export around 500 million dollars a year, depending on each year's weather conditions and on international prices."

The minister also highlighted the high technology employed by the sector: "Consumer's don't understand the technological development and the work to add value that lies behind a simple cherry. After being harvested, a cherry travels for three weeks and arrives in perfect condition to its target market in the Asian region, in this case, to China. This sector is betting on the future and has made an investment in technological development. I think it's a good example of how dynamic the agricultural sector is and, particularly, of the very good moment that the Chilean fruit growing sector is experiencing."

Meanwhile, the national director of the SAG, Angel Sartori, highlighted the work of exporters in conjunction with the Agriculture and Livestock Service, underlining the importance "of the joint work between the private and public sectors. These products are certified, which indicates that they have the best agricultural health conditions. We owe much of the opening of new markets to our health level, it is a great asset that we must preserve."

Ronald Bown, the president of Asoex said: "We visited the facilities of one of the largest exporters of cherries in Chile to observe the export process of our cherries, and we were able to witness how value is added to this product, for example, through specially designed packaging for the final consumer. Chile is well known for exporting very high quality cherries that are very safe to consume because of the safety plans implemented by each company, as in the case of Agricola Garces."

He also stated that the sector continuously works to improve the production and export of national cherries and that Asoex' Cherry Committee had planned a unique promotion campaign for the 2016-2017 season. "It is a $5-million dollar promotional campaign, through which we want to position Chile as the main source of cherries in China during the Chinese New Year and beyond this period," he said.

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