Chile: Protocol signed to expand to 17 species of frozen fruits exported to China

A milestone for the agro-export sector was achieved with the signing of the frozen fruit protocol between Chile and China, which will allow expanding the species authorized to enter that country from 3 to 17.

This was explained by the Minister of Agriculture, María Emilia Undurraga, who headed the firm together with Chinese Ambassador to Chile Niu Qingbao; the Undersecretary of International Economic Relations, Rodrigo Yáñez; director National Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), Horacio Bórquez; the Deputy Director of the Office of Agrarian Studies and Policies (ODEPA), Adolfo Ochagavía; and the general manager of Chilealimentos, Guillermo González.

This agreement will allow bilateral trade with China to generate greater opportunities from the perspective of small and medium fruit producers, since the sanitary opening is established for 14 new species of frozen fruits. These are, raspberry, boysenberry, cranberry, apple, avocado, cherry, custard apple, grape, kiwi, peach (peach), mango, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry, all in their frozen state.

“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, mainly who produce raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and different products. The possibility of exporting from 3 to 17 species is expanded, which will deepen this challenge of continuing to contribute to the food security of other countries and continue the development of agriculture, with an emphasis on peasant family farming, ”explained Undurraga.

In 2020, Chilean shipments of frozen fruits totaled 171 thousand tons with a value of USD 435 million. China is in fifth place as a destination for fruit sales, with 11 thousand tons and USD 23 million. Frozen fruit exports are mainly berries, with 79% of the total value of these shipments. Of the total registered, blueberries lead the group, reaching 29% of that value, strawberry 28%, raspberry 16% and blackberry 8%.

“We want to start this protocol as soon as possible and go deeper into frozen fruits, which is a sector that is on the rise in China and in the world. This is very good news for our economic reactivation ”, added the Secretary of State.

For his part, the Chinese ambassador appreciated the agreement and the signing of the protocol, "I am grateful for having this opportunity that will undoubtedly enrich the table of Chinese consumers, who will be able to access more fruits from Chile."

The ambassador revealed the coordinated work between both governments and pointed out that this type of agreement is essential to strengthen bilateral trade and open investment doors between the two countries.

Finally, Undersecretary Yáñez highlighted the importance of this firm since “it is very good news for our economic reactivation. China is the third largest buyer of frozen fruits on a global scale. It is therefore a key opening to promote the export development of our regions, which is part of the Government's strategy of health diplomacy that improves access to health products in international markets, diversifying destinations and promoting resilient foreign trade ”.

According to the Odepa-Ciren cadastre, in 2021, Chile registered 22.906 hectares of berries, the most relevant being blueberries, with 18.216, then raspberries with 2.646 hectares, and blackberries with 1.178 hectares. Regarding strawberries, according to information from the Institute of Statistics, INE, it is estimated that they will reach around 2020 hectares by 1.000.

These crops are concentrated in the regions of Maule (33%), Ñuble (25%), Araucanía (11%), and Biobío (9%). With the exception of blueberries, these berries concentrate their surface in small-sized productive units, 57% of the surface of the blackberry and 46% of the surface of the raspberry is concentrated in farms of between 0 and 5 hectares.

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