Argentina: The area planted with hazelnuts quadrupled

The nearly 450 acres of hazelnuts planted in the lower valley of Rio Negro account for 95% of the national production of this nut and, according to a report by INTA, they have a great productive potential. As such, there is a bill that seeks to declare the city of Viedma in Rio Negro as the Provincial Capital of Hazelnut and Dried Fruits Production. 

According to Luis Iannamico, from the INTA, "the cultivation area that is fit for hazelnut crops is located in the lower valley of Rio Negro, the Colorado River Valleys and the Chubut River, as well as in Cordoba, Mendoza, San Luis and Buenos Aires. The lower valley of Rio Negro concentrates 95% of the national production, has the most extension and the most potential."

He added: "In the last fifteen years, the interest in nuts increased and the area planted has quadrupled. This is because this crop has a good profitability and the industry's demand -chocolatiers, ice cream parlours and bakeries- has increased, as well as its fresh consumption as part of medically recommended healthy diets. "

According to a report by the National Universities of Comahue and Rio Negro, domestic production of hazelnuts amounts to nearly 240,000 kilos. Argentina imports almost 290,000 kilos of hazelnuts, 96% of which are peeled and come from Chile, Spain and Turkey, to supply the domestic consumption. "This is a clear example of the importance and potential of the crop in our country," said Iannamico. 

In Argentina, almost all of the hazelnut production is peeled before it is marketed and is destined for the chocolate or sweet industry. Hence, it is the dried fruit that has the highest diversity of presentations and destinations. 

The most cultivated variety is the Tonda di Giffony variety that is used by the chocolate industry. If the conditions are good and the fruits have proper management producers can achieve yields of up to nearly 2,500 kilograms per hectare with sales values between $3.50 to $4 dollars per kilo. 


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