"The effort from producers "has been lost", says SNA"

Chile: Competitiveness in fruit production to fall by 6%

The main agroforestry sector unions, led by the president of the National Society of Agriculture (SNA), Patricio Crespo, met today with the governor of Central Bank, Rodrigo Vergara, to express his concern about the lack of competitiveness which, according to them, affects the sector due to the fall in exchange rates.

"Over the past nine years, the sector has seen an 89% rise in costs. This adds up to a sharp fall in value of dollars, which yesterday reached its lowest level so far this year; a situation which worries us and puts competitiveness in the sector at risk," said Crespo.

SNA's president predicted that during the 2012-2013 season competitiveness in fruit production would fall by up to 6%, with a cumulative loss of 36% in nine years. 

Among the other unions attending the meeting were the National Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta), the Wines of Chile Association, the National Association of Seed Producers (Anpros) and the Association of Dairy Exporters (Exporlac).

The latter expressed concern about lower returns in the sector's exports.

According to the union, markets such as the US, China, Peru and Korea, among other countries, have experienced falls of up to 40% in dairy exports so far in 2012, a situation which has pushed the sector to reorient their efforts towards a smaller domestic market.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Seeds stated that during the past five years the price of some products has multiplied by three, thus affecting the country's ability to compete with other exporters.

It is worth remembering that yesterday the president of the fruit union, Cristian Allende, explicitly called for authorities to intervene the exchange market to reverse the steady decline of the currency.

"The current exchange rates make business impossible for exporters. Urgent action is needed. It is necessary for the Central Bank to intervene," said Allendes yesterday.

"Government measures are insufficient."

Regarding what the government said, about their help to the sector being based on an agenda to boost competitiveness, the president of the SNA pointed out that those measures are insufficient.

"Chances for them having an impact is limited (...) without a doubt, it is insufficient and that is why we are here. Coming here would be a waste of time if we were not convinced that it is essential for the Government to get more involved in solving these problems," explained Crespo. 

In this sense, the union member acknowledged that he would hold meetings with the government to discuss and seek solutions.

"Probably in the next few days we will resort to the Ministry of Finance and other authorities (...) to see how we continue raising awareness in the public sector regarding the demands of the exporting agro-industrial sector," he concluded.

Source: DF.CL

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