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Chile: SAG and ASOEX forge closer ties with Colombia regarding health

Last week, the national director of the SAG, Angel Sartori, and the heads of the divisions of International Affairs, Veronica Echavarri; Agriculture, Rodrigo Astete; Livestock, José Ignacio Gómez, and the general manager of the Fruit Exporters Association of Chile (ASOEX), Miguel Canala-Echeverria, began a tour of Latin America.

The first stop of the tour was in Bogota, Colombia. There, the Chilean health authority met with the general manager of the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), Luis Humberto Martinez. In the meeting, they exchanged their views on the situation of animal and plant health in Latin America, delving into issues such as the facilitation of bilateral trade in agricultural and forestry products, as well as the current situation regarding the risk of entry of the avian influenza.

"We reviewed various issues of mutual interest with the livestock and agricultural teams of both institutions. We discussed the state of the products Colombia is interested in exporting, such as cape gooseberries and avocados, especially of the cape gooseberry; we reached certain agreements regarding whether or not it is a host for fruit flies. They gave us information that will be analyzed by our Agricultural Division, so we can respond in the coming days. We agreed on some preliminary dates to formalize a health protocol for the export of Colombian cape gooseberry to Chile, a market that is open, but with some treatments," said the Director of the SAG.

Regarding the issues of interest to Chile, the national health authority said that "we spoke about the fastuca, ryegrass, asparagus, rice, and maqui fruit seeds. They want us to provide these seeds because if Colombia signs a peace agreement with the guerilla there will be a lot of land that could be used for agricultural production in the country, which would be a great opportunity for Chilean seed producers," he added.

In turn, Miguel Canala-Echeverria, general manager of ASOEX, spoke about the exports of fresh fruits. "Participating in these visits is very helpful because it allows us to have a deeper understanding of how our products arrive in a market and we can coordinate the necessary actions to improve this. For example, in addition to meeting with local authorities, we were able to meet with importers of fresh fruits from ASIFRUT, at which time we were informed of some situations that are affecting the normal entry of fruit," he said.

According to statistics from ASOEX, during the 2015-2016 season Chile sent a total of 488,133 tons of fresh fruit to Latin America. Of this volume, Colombia received a total of 115,100 tons, followed by Brazil with 104,882 tons and Ecuador with 67,096 tons. The main fruits that Chile exports to Colombia are the apples, pears and table grapes, which together account for over 67% of the Chilean fruit exports to that market.

After these meetings in Colombia, the Chilean delegation headed to Ecuador.

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