Chilean nut producers must do more to ensure that they are prepared to withstand downturns such as the one that the industry is currently experiencing according to Juan Luis Vial, president of producer and exporter association Chilenut.
Speaking at the international Exponut 2016 conference, which took place this week in Casapiedra, Chile, Vial said the industry needed to adopt measures to raise profitability and improve trade opportunities.
“We have drawn up a development plan to consolidate and strengthen the sector, and together with the support of the authorities and research institutions, build a financial base and technical and human resources team that will enable us to achieve this,” Vial said.
He noted that in addition to facing increased competition from China and the US this season, Chilean producers had to contend with the losses caused by April’s heavy rains, which early estimates suggested have affected more than 30,000 tonnes of the late-season Chandler variety.
“We’re talking about significant losses which will compromise our export commitments,” Vial said. “We think the sensible thing to do in this situation is to inform the market as soon as possible of the early damage estimates while we carry out a more detailed assessment of the situation.”
He pointed to the complete opening of the Chinese market as one of the industry’s recent success stories, praising the efforts and support of the government and calling on exporters to seize this important opportunity.
Vial announced that Chilenut had created a new international management structure to drive forward the opening of new markets and overseas promotions.
Chilenut represents around 55 per cent of the country’s total walnut exports.