Chilean fruit exports are expected to rise by 14.6 per cent this season as output recovers from the freeze of September 2013 according to Juan Carolus Brown, president of Fedefruta. The producer association says shipments are on course to reach 2.72m tonnes, with an equivalent value of US$4.77m FOB during 2015, resulting in “the highest returns in the history of Chilean fruit exports”.
Stonefruit exports are forecast to rise by 97.9-100 per cent; kiwifruit by 90.5 per cent and cherries by 35.7 per cent, the Fedefruta president said.
Speaking at the PMA Fruittrade Latin America which takes place in Santiago this week, the president of the producer association noted that table grape exports are projected to increase by 12.9 per cent, regaining the top spot from apples in terms of export volume. “We estimate that around 840,000 tonnes of grapes will be exported in the coming season, compared with 815,000 tonnes of apples. This equates to 61 per cent of total Chilean fruit exports,” Brown said.
Brown also discussed concerns from producers about the reform of the country’s Water Code, saying “we have to acknowledge there is water rights are subject to speculation but let’s be clear: producers are not the guilty party here. On the contrary, we squeeze every last bit of use out of them to enable us to grow more and better products for consumers in Chile and around the world”.
On the subject of labour, Brown called for private companies, worker unions and the government to set up a tripartite committee to oversee the implementation of the Agricultural Worker Law, which was presented to Congress in 2011. He urged the government to move a proposed new migration law up the political agenda. This would enable foreigners to obtain temporary work visas granting them the same rights as national workers and ease the worsening labour shortage in the fruit industry, Brown said.