San Nicolás in the region of Ñuble could be the setting for the first commercial farm in Chile producing Chinese crops, according to Fedefruta.
Jorge Valenzuela, president of the fruit producer organisation, made the announcement during a visit last week to a 400ha farm managed by Chile’s Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG).
The aim of the visit to learn more about the site’s suitability for the project to develop production of Chinese products with a view to rolling out large-scale production in the future.
For the past 20 years, Fedefruta has managed a farm in China producing and exporting fruit and Valenzuela said it had now been decided to set up a similar project in Chile.
He said climate change had made Ñuble an increasingly attractive opportunity for fruit producers thanks to its abundance of water and land and rich agricultural tradition.
“While we are evaluating different alternatives, I believe that…the Ñuble Region should host this farm, and in that context, the land of the SAG in San Nicolás is one of the alternatives that is being evaluated,” he said.
Valenzuela explained that the future farm would be used to test the potential of Chinese crops not currently produced in Chile.
“Today we export western fruits and vegetables to China, but the Chinese also eat oriental foods, so one of the objectives is to see how some of these crops can be adapted to Chile, what climate and management they need, and to see if they have the potential to be produced and exported commercially,” he said.
Valenzuela added that the farm would also aim to incorporate Chinese culture and farming technology into the local system.
A 4ha Chinese experimental farm also exists in La Platina in the Metropolitan Region, but this does not have the capacity to be scaled up for commercial production.
Álvaro Gatica, president of the Association of Farmers of Ñuble, said the initiative was a very positive development for the region and a huge opportunity for local farmers.
“This farm would allow the introduction of new crops in the local agriculture….and provide a good alternative to local crops,” he said.