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Korean inspectors visit Chile to start cherry exports

Two inspectors from Korea's Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA) are touring the country to check that Chile is complying with the protocols signed between Chile and Korea regarding cherry exports, and with the fruit fly control program.

Youngjae Cho, an inspector of the QIA, will verify that the country complies with the Phytosanitary Certification Program, which was defined by both countries so that Chile can export fresh cherries to South Korea. The visit is part of the normal procedures defined by the QIA for the start of shipments, and will take place from the 21 to the 25 of November.

Youngjae Cho will visit the cherry orchards and packing facilities in the Metropolitan region, in O'Higgins, and in Maule. In addition, the inspectors will meet with professionals from the SAG and from Asoex to discuss the implementation of the Phytosanitary Certification Program at the national and regional levels.

Miguel Canala-Echeverria, the general manager of Asoex, said the visit of the Korean inspectors signals the beginning of Chilean shipments of this fruit to this important market: "This will be the first Chilean cherry export season in which we'll be able to ship a big amount of this fruit to the Korean market. The Korean market was opened to our cherries in January 2016, so we didn't have much time to plan a larger number of shipments last season. Korea is a demanding market, and is now part of the major destinations we have in Asia, such as China. It is also a market that allows us to diversify our shipments within Asia."

According to Asoex, during 2015-2016, the Far East was the second biggest destination for Chilean fresh fruit in general, as Chile shipped 482,461 tons to these area in that campaign, had a 10.9% increase in shipments, and there's been steady growth in shipments in the last 10 years. China (including Hong Kong) has grown by 227% in six years and in the 2015-2016 campaign accounted for 59% of the total shipments to Asia, followed by Taiwan with 14%, South Korea with 9%, and India with 7%.

The main fruit exported from Chile to the Far East, in terms of volume, were table grapes (39% of total), apples (21%), cherries (15%), kiwis (8%), and plums (7%).

In addition, Chile exported more than 72,000 tons of fresh cherries to Asia in the 2015-2016 campaign, 44 tons of which were shipped to South Korea. More than 69,000 tons were exported to the China-Hong Kong market.

Yunmo Koo, an inspector of the QIA, will check the implementation of the Fruit Fly Program by the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG), and Chilean producers and exporters at the national and regional levels.

Koo will meet with professionals SAG to be informed about the implementation of this program in each area that they visit. He will also inspect the traps of the National Fruit Fly Detection System that were installed and are being monitored by the SAG in urban and rural areas of the regions of Atacama, Coquimbo, Metropolitan, O'Higgins, and Maule.
The visit, which was organized by the SAG and Asoex, will take place from November 21 to December 2.

It's worth noting that Chile has been free of the fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), since 1995 ; a condition that allows the country to export fruit and vegetable products to multiple destinations without restrictions.

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