Chilean cranberry industry:
The objective is to recover competitiveness
The surface of blueberries planted in Chile is around 15.900 hectares. The tendency is for it to continue growing, due to internal and external factors. Internally, there is the effect of climate change, which pushes the suitable climate for agrofrutícola cultivation towards the south of the country, considerably increasing the areas suitable for the cultivation of cranberry. Externally, the extension and increase in demand, and with it the opening of new markets, imply a favorable scenario for the entry of larger volumes.
The Chilean cranberry industry has structural capacities to face these new scenarios. It is an experienced industry, of more than three decades, so in this global reality it can have comparative advantages, and also notable deficiencies.
Chile has a vast accumulated knowledge regarding the different aspects of cranberry cultivation, hand in hand with experience, research and science, and its high efficiency levels are recognized as an export industry. But on the other hand there is its notorious varietal obsolescence that makes it lose competitiveness gradually, so it is necessary to implement a phase of strategic changes or adjustments to the industry.
Some experts are emphatic in their vision, such as Isabel Quiroz, of IQonsulting, who affirms that there are obvious signs of being in the presence of an "obsolete" industry, which is in a small crisis, "and that changes in course to recover this lost competitiveness, indicating that these changes happen mainly by an urgent varietal change.
Andrés Armstrong, director of the Committee of Blueberries of Chile, argues that "it is necessary to rethink the future of the industry" and also takes care of the need for these changes or strategic adjustments to the industry. In fact, Andrés Armstrong will be a panelist for the next XIV International Blueberries Seminar that will be held this April at the Monticello Center. This event will be the opportunity for the executive to conduct an in-depth analysis of the state of the Chilean industry and to discuss some measures or agreements in order to convert this adverse reality into a development opportunity. We must reflect on the correct management of the garden. Advance in the application of cutting-edge technology. Professionalize the activity, placing emphasis on the management and application of scientific methods to function as companies.
The fruit is sold, the demand increases and the business is in good health, but you have to professionalize the methods, because it is true that the demand increases, but it is more demanding each day. Today you do not ask for fruit only. Today fresh fruit is required, with firmness, good texture, good appearance and above all good taste. And that is also past, because the consumer now demands traceability of the product, wants to know how it was made, who and at what cost they harvested it and what impact it has on the environment the fact of consuming it.
Clearly there are important challenges, although apparently they are beginning to be resolved. One of them is to implement a great varietal replacement that allows to produce a resistant fruit to face long trips, and with better qualities of caliber, flavor and condition. A fruit that is up to the new standards of consumers.
There is much to develop to recover competitiveness, but this development must be carried out with the same speed as the world does, and hopefully more.
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