A deep and varied analysis of the fruit sector marks Agrotrade 2023

The need for greater communication of the attributes of the products that enhance the country's image and the important role of genetics to face climate change were part of the challenges posed during Agrotrade 2023. Through talks, conversation panels and a varied fair, the industry was updated on the current situation and its projections.

Organized by the Association of Nurseries of Chile AGV, the eighth version of Agrotrade 2023 brought together more than 450 industry players and authorities on sustainability, genetics and the latest trends in the sector at the Monticello Convention Center.

Cristian Pichuante, president of the Chilean Nursery Association, made a positive closing in terms of the results of the activity. "The panels were varied, with invited opinion leaders, which allowed us a complete look at what is happening in fruit growing and the challenges for the industry, where the role of nurseries is essential as the basis of the production chain. Our main challenge is to provide the best genetics available in the world to adapt to the new needs of fruit growing and improve its competitiveness”, he stated.

The president of Asoex, Iván Marambio, carried out a complete analysis of the current situation of the industry, its challenges and how to face it. “The numbers are going to arrive on their own if we do things right. We have to look at climate change, water, pests, logistics, the country's image and the immense competition that Peru implies for some products," explained Marambio. In addition, he highlighted the role of the unions and the need for a joint look between the private sector and the government to achieve joint work.

Sustainability and resilient agriculture

During the panel discussion on sustainability for a more resilient agriculture, the geographer and senior consultant associated with the Water Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones for Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC), Elir Rojas, reviewed how the mega-drought and Climate change in Chile has affected the territory and the role of groups in society that have promoted these situations. "Agriculture is a resilient activity per se, but it is necessary to have means of verification that account for what is being done in terms of good practices." Also part of the panel was Benjamín Moreno,

Faced with this point, the president of Fedefruta, Jorge Valenzuela, acknowledged that "we are indebted to society for being able to communicate more forcefully that work in the fields today goes hand in hand with sustainability."

In his speech, Antonio Walker, president of the SNA, stated that “Chile should focus on exporting quality, safe, and niche products that allow us to compete in large markets. When we talk about sustainability, worrying about our collaborators, the environment and the use of the soil is fundamental, only 7% of the national surface is used for cultivation, so our forestry and agricultural sector is carbon neutral and we need to communicate it more " .

On the other hand, regarding the performance of fruit exports in the last season, cherries were the only ones that showed a significant increase in their exported volume, covering 97% of the world market. For Isabel Quiroz, executive director of iQonsulting, this industry "is the most qualified to reach its main market, which is China, and the premium and super jumbo calibres were the ones that marked the best prices."

The importance of genetics

Another of the topics addressed during the day was the evolution, impacts and challenges of the fruit genetic offer. Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Eng. agronomist from the University of Chile and member of the Chilean Academy of Agricultural Sciences, stated that "genetic improvement in Chile has been under development for a few years, it began in the 80's, and not all fruit trees have jumped on the bandwagon, since that has gone hand in hand with the needs of the industry. We have to stop competing among ourselves, the competition must be with the other exporting countries”.

On the other hand, it was suggested that the new genetics must have a well-developed protocol, so that producers can choose with the information on the table. Verónica Herrera, manager of Nova Grapes and Nova Fruits, and member of the Consorcio Tecnológico de la Fruta Board of Directors, explained that “we have a large number of varieties, but not all of them are good and that is a problem. We must carry out varietal development, but with the correct information”.

Carolina Cruz, president of UVANOVA and vice president of the SNA, stated that "the challenge is to improve our profitability and productivity of the varieties. In the case of grapes, some have allowed us to reach the markets in the best conditions." However, the royalties must go hand in hand with the accompaniment of the producer.

Rootstocks and climate change

During Agrotrade 2023, the importance of rootstocks for adaptation to climate change was also raised, through the analysis of specialists in European hazelnut, vines and avocado trees.

Regarding the cultivation of hazelnut Andrés Reyes, director of Grupo Avexa and Vitrogroup, comments that "Its trend is upward and the world is looking for a more sustainable production, where one of the main challenges for hazelnut rootstocks is to limit the maximum the emission of snakes to reduce management and crop costs, a fundamental aspect for the development of the species in our country”.

In terms of avocados, "the situation of water scarcity leads to considering the importance of using clonal plants to make efficient use of water and increase their productivity," said Francisco González, founding partner of Bellotoagro consulting.

Knowing which variety to grow according to the climate is essential to achieve good results and quality in terms of wines. Nematodes and more saline waters become a problem for crops, so "considering rootstocks resistant to this type of pest, salinity and lack of water is key to ensuring good crop results," explained Samuel. Barros, eng. Winemaker agronomist, master of science in viticulture and representative of Univiveros.

women and agriculture

The role of women in the global food system was the topic in charge of closing the day. Patricia Benavente, president of Amagro AG, highlighted the importance of associating and working together to generate instances of support for rural women, beyond the purely productive issue. “We need to bring agriculture to the city, it is easy to make laws from the desk, but we need to work together in order to reduce the gaps in women, such as connectivity, the digital world, and that in rural areas is far behind,” she says. the association leader.

“We have made progress and there are many more people willing to know the reality that women live in the countryside. In agriculture, this issue is cross-cutting, so there is an opportunity to move forward”, stated Benjamín Moreno, Deputy District 17 Maule Region, member of Bancada del Campo.

The Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, was in charge of closing the activity, realizing the importance of associativity, the increase in the participation of women in the productive chain through Indap - it reached 47% -, and the common challenges for the resilience of the sector in the face of climate change. In legislative matters, the minister stated that "the new Irrigation Law, in terms of modernization, seeks greater focus and competitions for the structural irrigation of areas, to achieve a more associative impact."

Chile Nursery Association

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