In an effort to profitably market a projected doubling in volume over the next four years, walnut processors and exporters in Chile have announced the establishment of the Chilean Walnut Commission, according to a report by SimFRUIT.
“Chile is the leading exporter of walnuts in the Southern Hemisphere and is among the top five worldwide,” explained Andrés Rodriguez, executive president of the Commission. “This has motivated walnut processors and exporters to combine efforts to position the national walnut, as a product with added value and with an export quality seal.”
The recently formed association already represents nearly 50 per cent of Chile’s walnut export volume and in the short-term aims to boost industry participation to 75 per cent.
This season, Mr Rodriguez said the production of walnuts in Chile should reach 30,000 tonnes, which presents “a great opportunity”, but at the same time “a huge challenge” for the sector.
“It’s a priority to combine efforts within the walnut exporting sector; and to be prepared for this scenario,” he noted. “We want to consolidate Chilean walnuts as a product with added value and develop new markets where this strong increase of production can be profitably sold.”
One of the first challenges for the association is to develop an export quality seal to allow the industry to offer a guarantee of product quality and uniformity to the consumer.
Other objectives include: seeking optimum marketing conditions in the main destination markets; developing promotional activities and positioning Chilean walnuts abroad; looking for opportunities in new markets; and consolidating the industry in terms of its added value, quality and differentiation.
Currently, more than 80 per cent of Chilean walnut exports are shipped to just five countries globally.