Frozen berries

Chile and China have signed a new trade deal paving the way for more types of frozen fruit to be exported from Chile to the Chinese market.

Under the agreement, the number of products that can be shipped rises from three to 17, these being: raspberries, boysenberries, cranberries, apples, avocado, cherries, custard apples, grapes, kiwifruit, peaches, mango, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

Agriculture Minister María Emilia Undurraga said the deal would create new trade opportunities for small and medium-sized fruit producers.

“This frozen fruit protocol is very important not only for the industrial sector, but also for the large number of farmers in the south-central regions, who mainly produce raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and different products,” she said.

“It will deepen this challenge of continuing to contribute to the food security of other countries and continue the development of agriculture, particularly rural family farming.”

Last year, Chile exported 171,000 tonnes of frozen fruit worth US$435m. China is its fifth biggest market, and the third biggest buyer of frozen fruit globally. In 2020 it took 11,000 tonnes of frozen fruit from Chile – mainly berries –with a corresponding value of US$23m.

In terms of products, blueberries accounted for 29 per cent of shipments by value, strawberries for 28 per cent, raspberries 16 per cent and blackberries 8 per cent.

“We want to implement this protocol as soon as possible and delve into frozen fruits, which is a sector that is on the rise in China and across the world,” Undurraga noted. “This is very good news for our economic reactivation.”

According to official figures, Chile had 22,906ha of berry production in 2021, of which blueberries accounted for 18,216ha, followed by raspberries with 2,646ha, blackberries with 1,178 ha and strawberries for around 1,000ha. Production is concentrated in the regions of Maule, ñuble, Araucanía and Biobío.