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Promising research on bioplastic from fruit waste

Promising research on bioplastic from fruit waste
Photo: Cristián Valdés Biochemist in charge of the project – FIA

Chilean researchers are working to create packaging containers for fruits for export to Europe and Asia using apple, pear, grape, peach and tomato waste. The initiative is promoted by the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA) and executed by the Universidad Católica del Maule, with support from the Foundation for Fruit Development (FDF) and San Jorge Packaging.

The biochemist in charge of the project, Cristián Valdés, said that the first stage of the process is to extract the nutrients from the residues of fruits and vegetables for the growth of a bacteria that produces the precursor of the bioplastic. The product “will be chemically treated in order to generate the material as such, to which antimicrobial properties will be added. Later, it will be transformed into biodegradable bags, shaping it by means of extrusion machines. Finally, the properties of the material will be optimised so that it is compatible with the packaging,” he said.

The project is in the first phase, related to the generation and optimization of the necessary conditions for the hydrolysis process of the different industrial wastes.

 

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Peru and Chile smash blueberry export records

Peru and Chile smash blueberry export records

© Promperu

 

Peru remained the world’s number-one source of blueberries in 2020, achieving a record export year in the process. The value of Peru’s blueberry shipments surpassed the US$1 billion mark, a jump of 23.4% on 2019, according to trade agency Adex, whose representative Lizbeth Pumasunco said, “From August to November we have an advantage, because the US and Canada do not harvest because it is winter, and in the case of Chile and Mexico they do not start their campaigns.”

Chile also shipped a record 118,225 tons of blueberries in 2020/21, up 8.2% on the previous year. The higher volume was due to an increase in planted area, the replacement of old plants with newer, more productive varieties and the introduction of the Systems Approach for exports from the Ñuble and Biobío regions, which enabled more fruit to be exported fresh rather than frozen.

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China cherry market slowly recovering after Covid-19 detection on Chilean boxes

China cherry market slowly recovering after Covid-19 detection on Chilean boxes © Eurofresh Distribution

© Eurofresh Distribution

 

On January 22, Chinese health authorities found Covid-19 on boxes of imported Chilean cherries. Despite the very low risk of contamination from food or food packaging, the news went viral and strongly affected all cherry imports at the peak of the campaign for Chinese New Year celebrations. More than 200 posts were published on social media discouraging consumers from buying imported cherries. 

The market is now slowly recovering, with prices back to 70-80% of their previous levels, but the market damage is done: an estimated 70% reduction in demand for imported cherries, with more than 50% price reduction in the 2 last weeks. Chinese public health authorities have since made statements to reassure Chinese consumers, including Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Centre for Control and Prevention of Diseases. The case also hit New Zealand cherries hard at the heart of its campaign, mainly by air. 

This episode follows the Yiguo bankruptcy last October, partly due to the sale of infected frozen meat with Covid-19. Fear of Covid-19 is now not such a worry for Chinese consumers in general, but they are not accepting to pay the usual high prices for imported products by air-freight.

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First Agricultural Water Summit to be held in Chile in April

First Agricultural Water Summit to be held in Chile in April

The first-ever edition of the Agricultural Water Summit will be held across three days, staring on April 20, 2021, in the Hotel Sun Monticello Conference Center in San Francisco de Mostazal, close to the capital of Chile, Santiago. Organised by Yentzen Group, the Agricultural Water Summit will be a meeting point not only for the agricultural industry and related entities in Chile but also for international experts, who will come together to share their experience on using innovative techniques and farm management styles to limit the impacts of drought on horticultural operations.

Fostering intersectoral cooperation through both public and private organizations in order to bring about new and meaningful responses to the water crisis is another imperative of the event. The event is expected the receive hundreds of attendees from Chile and the rest of the world, as well as dozens of commercial exhibitors.

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Chilean produce promoted in Mercamadrid and Mercabarna

Chilean produce promoted in Mercamadrid and Mercabarna
Photo:ProChile

ProChile has launched a campaign titled “Chile Keeps On Going for You” across the world to transmit Chile’s commitment to the global supply chain and its role as an exporter of world-class food. A spin-off from this work is a campaign at Spain’s two main wholesale markets – Mercamadrid and Mercabarna – called “Chile, origin of quality”, which highlights the commitment to traceability, safety, quality, diversity, ecological production and sustainability of the Chilean agri-food sector. The campaign is aimed at strengthening the image of the sector and will run between December 1 and 31, 2020.

According to a press release by ProChile: “We work daily to maintain food quality standards and maintain ourselves as a provider of healthy foods. This is demonstrated by the export figures, becoming the leading exporter of fresh fruit in the southern hemisphere and becoming the world’s leading exporter of fresh cherries and plums, second in grapes and blueberries and third in shelled nuts, raisins. Very relevant for the Spanish market are the shipments of avocados, walnuts with and without shell, kiwis and apples; followed by a long and varied list of references that include blueberries, nectarines, pears, raisins, dehydrated plum, among others.”

The initiative includes raising awareness of a new contact channel to identify suppliers from Chile, such as One Click Import.

 

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Chile’s avocado production area begins to climb once more

Chile’s avocado production area begins to climb once more

Chile’s avocado production area is expected to increase slightly in 2020, following 6 years of shrinkage. Th3 MY20201 crop is expected to total around 220,000 tons, with exports reaching 145,000 tons, assuming planted area and productivity remain unchanged. Hass avocado accounts for almost 90% of the total 30,143 hectares, according to ODEPA data. Chileans consume around 30% of the domestic avocado production (graph 1).

The region of Valparaiso is the top avocado production region with 20,318 hectares (67.4%), followed by the Metropolitana (14%) and Coquimbo (13.2%).

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New Chilean Organic Producers Cooperative: Organicoop

New Chilean Organic Producers Cooperative: Organicoop
Photo: The Organic Producers Cooperative

At its General Constitutive Meeting last week, the Organic Producers Cooperative of Chile, Organicoop, was founded in Curicó. The entity is made up of the companies AFE Orgánico, Agrícola y Forestal El Yacal, Agrícola y Comercial Asturias, Agrícola Santa Isabel de Cato (ASICSA), Exportadora Frutifor, Exportadora Curicó and the Agroecology R&D Center, which produce apples, pears, blueberries, as well as other products under organic certification in Maule and Ñuble.

Organicoop’s mission is to become recognised as the most reputable producer and supplier cooperative of organic products in Chile, offering products of exceptional quality and value that reflect the organic management of its processes.

Its code is based on principles such as recycling, functional diversification, resilience, self-management, cooperation, and balanced biotic regulation, among others. “These are ideas that forge a way of thinking, beyond the mere replacement of synthetic inputs by authorised inputs, which is common to national ecological ventures, which pursue more the premium price of differentiated organic sales, than the real sense of produce holistically,” said a statement by Organicoop.

 

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First edition of Agricultural Water Summit Scheduled for April 2021 in Chile

Agricultural Water Summit moved to September 22, 2020
© Agricultural Water Summit

 

The first ever edition of the Agricultural Water Summit will take place on April 20, 2021, in the Hotel Sun Monticello Conference Center in San Francisco de Mostazal, close to the capital Santiago. Organised by Yentzen Group, the Agricultural Water Summit will be a meeting point not only for the agricultural industry and related entities in Chile but also for international experts, who will come together to share their experience on using innovative techniques and farm management styles to limit the impacts of drought on horticultural operations.

Fostering intersectoral cooperation through both public and private organizations in order to bring about new and meaningful responses to the water crisis is another imperative of the event.

The event is expected the receive hundreds of attendees from Chile and the rest of the world, as well as dozens of commercial exhibitors.

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Chilean avocados gain foothold in Australia 

Chilean avocados gain foothold in Australia 

Chile’s first avocado campaign exporting to Australia has already seen almost 150 tons of Hass shipped across the Pacific. On August 4th, Chile became only the second country, after New Zealand, to be authorised to export fresh Hass avocados to the Australian market. Data published by ASOEX (Association of Fruit Exporters), Chile has sent 148 tons of Hass avocados to Australia since Chile’s export season began on September 1st. Australians are among the world’s largest consumers of avocado, consuming 3.8 kilos per capita each year.

Since September 1st, Chile has exported 25,967 tons of Hass avocados to the world. Europe is the main market, accounting for 81.3% of the volume, followed by Latin America (9.7%), Asia (5.7%), and the US (3.4%).

 

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US and Chile vie for share of competitive South Korean grape market

US and Chile vie for share of competitive South Korean grape market

With South Korea’s domestic production of grapes falling, the country is relying ever more on imports. This opens up opportunities for the world’s major producers, especially Chile, with whom South Korea signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2004. Despite government efforts to protect the domestic grape industry by imposing higher tariffs, the share of imported grapes continues to rise. Chile, which benefitted from its early FTA access, has the highest market share. However, US grape imports have also been on the rise since South Korea removed its off-season tariffs in 2016.

South Korea’s aging farming population is another contributory factor to the decline in production, but the increased popularity of the Shine Musket variety, which is grown locally, has slowed the fall in domestic grape cultivation. South Korean consumers seek diversity in grape varieties, which has led to the introduction of new varieties every season. They are also willing to pay higher prices for premium products. Indeed, the price of grapes has continued to rise as demand still exceeds supply. The overall grape market in South Korea, which was once stagnant, is now projected to continue growing due to strong consumer demand.