Trade mission in Japan: Asoex and SAG seek to boost Chilean fruit exports

To promote fruit shipments, the Association of Chilean Fruit Exporters (Asoex) and the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) participated in an official mission to the Asian country, where they held a series of meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of that country. According to figures from the union, during the 2021-2022 fruit export season, Chile sent 32.609 tons of fresh fruit to Japan.

With the aim of improving access conditions for Chilean fruits and exploring opportunities for new species, the Association of Chilean Fruit Exporters (Asoex) and the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) participated in an official mission to Japan, where they held a series of meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

The Chilean delegation in Japan was headed by the SAG national director(s), Andrea Collao, accompanied by Rodrigo Astete, head of the Agricultural, Forestry and Seed Protection division, and Carlos Orellana, head of the Livestock Protection division for of the SAG. Miguel Canala-Echeverría, general manager of Asoex, Rodrigo Castañón from ChileCarne and Rafael Lecaros from Faenacar also attended.

According to Asoex statistics, during the 2021-2022 fruit export season, Chile sent 32.609 tons of fresh fruit to Japan. Table grapes accounted for 88% of this volume, followed by kiwis (6%), lemons (4%), blueberries (2%) and cherries (1%). The Lemon exports amounted to 15.917 tons and grapes 14.077 tons.

In addition to the above, Chile also ships mandarins, avocados, pomegranates, sarsaparillas, custard apples and baby kiwis to Japan.

"Japan is one of the largest economies in the world, being the fifth destination for our fruits in Asia. Therefore, it is a market of great interest for our industry. Currently, we have access to export table grapes, kiwis, lemons, blueberries and citrus fruits to Japan, therefore, making progress in the opening of new fruits, such as apples, is key to continuing to grow in this country." , commented the general manager of Asoex.

He added: “Asia is an increasingly important destination for our shipments. In fact, this 2022-2023 season is the main market for our fresh fruit shipments, keeping a 34% share of our total exports to the world."

Japan is the third largest economy in the world and is highly dependent on imports, especially food. Although the Covid-19 pandemic affected it, its economy showed recovery in 2021 and 2022, and growth of 1,6% is expected in 2023 due to public consumption and investment. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita is US$39.312,07.

"Given that, according to IMF statistics, only 11% of the surface in Japan is suitable for cultivation, the agricultural sector is small, offering an opportunity for Chile to supply quality products to the demand of its demanding consumers. Japan, despite being a country with a rather low birth rate, in 2021 its population reached 125 million, in addition, its inhabitants have a high awareness of the importance of consuming products that contribute to health and nutrition, where our fresh fruits are key", pointed out Canala-Echeverría.

The Asoex executive also assured that fruit production in Japan is dominated by citrus and apple crops, and that apple production is declining. "In a period of 10 years it went from 845.000 tons to 756.000 tons per year," he added.

In the case of fresh fruit, the head of SAG's Agricultural, Forestry and Seed Protection division commented that the organization is currently in negotiations with Japan to advance the entry of fresh apples. “We are in stage three of an entry process that has nine stages. Today, apples from the United States, New Zealand and Australia have income. Likewise, in these meetings with the MAFF we analyzed the implementation of electronic certification for Phytosanitary Certificates, agreeing that Chile would be the first to implement it”.

However, the Chilean delegation also visited the port of Yokohama, to learn about the inspection and entry process for fruit and meat from Chile, as well as the laboratories of the Ministry of Health, in which compliance with the standards of safety and pesticides from Japan.

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