A Chilean company wants to satisfy Chinese demand for berries

Chile is leading the production of berries to the next level to strengthen its key role as supplier of the coveted Chinese market. Hortifrut, one of the leading producers and exporters of berries of Chile, is investing in China, Mexico and Morocco. The company plans to cultivate berries there when Chile is in the off season, when it is winter in the southern hemisphere.

Among these countries, "Chinese domestic demand in particular grows much faster at this time of year [summer]," as explained by the vice president of Hortifrut, Nicolás Moller, to Xinhua at a recent fair in Santiago.

Hortifrut plans to invest 160 million dollars to stimulate sales of berries overseas until reaching a total of 120.000 tons between 2022 and 2023. In China, the company will invest 49 million dollars to plant from 130 to 250 hectares of berrieswith the objective of harvesting them in the first half of 2020.

The measure also allows to reduce shipping time and improve quality, according to Juan Ignacio Allende, president of Hortifrut. From harvest to unloading at the port of destination of the berriesimported, spend around 35 days, said Allende at the opening of the event.

The company has also decided to innovate and incorporate technologies to improve industrial processes, including packaging, logistics and conservation, said Moller.

Hortifrut exported berries to Asia for the first time at 1987 and later opened a branch in Shanghai for localization. Since then, the Asian market for berries has grown between an 40 and an 50 percent. Of the total, Hortifrut represents a third, according to company data.

Chile exported around 386.000 tons of fresh fruit to China in 2017 and 2018, of which cherries represented 41,4 percent, while blueberries accounted for 2,5 percent, as shown by data from the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile.


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