New protocol to raise sustainability across industry and add value to exports

Association of Processors and Exporters of Prunes of Chile (Chileprunes) has announced plans to develop a new sustainability standard.

The members of Chileprunes account for 70 per cent of the country’s prune exports and will now embark on a two-and-a-half-year project to achieve the Chile Origin Conscious sustainable seal from the Ministry of Agriculture.

This work will be supported by the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), an agency of the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, and led by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which develops and implements a sustainability standard for this agribusiness sector. 

It will aim to achieve broad validation of the different areas of the agribusiness sector, within the framework of the Conscious Origin Chile programme, coordinated by the Office of Agrarian Studies and Policies, Odepa.

“In this way, we express the genuine interest that the prunes sector in Chile has in sustainability, a process in which we will identify gaps and aspects in which we need to advance, carrying out a participatory process that incorporates various actors in the chain, from the field to the table of the final consumer, from the farmer and producer, to the suppliers, exporters and clients,” said Pedro Acuña, executive director of Chileprunes.

IICA’s agricultural extension specialist and deputy coordinator of the project Fernando Barrera, said that all sectors of the economy were now interested in improving sustainability and not just on environmental matters, but in areas such as economic sustainability and relationships with local communities. 

“This project is a public-private commitment that seeks to address the issue of sustainability in a forceful way, and what we are doing with prunes is an example to develop for the entire agro-export industry in Chile,” said Barrera.

The first year of the programme will involve mapping stakeholders and understanding worldwide sustainability benchmarks before defining a sustainability standard for prunes both domestically and internationally. The second year will involve implementing, auditing and certifying the standard.