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The great raspberry scam

The great raspberry scam © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution


A major fraud in the world of raspberries is laid bare in a report by Reuters. In January 2017, Chilean customs inspectors acted on a tip from a whistleblower that the country’s prized crop of raspberries was under threat. Inspectors raided the offices of Frutti di Bosco, a little-known fruit trading company on the second floor of a tower block in downtown Santiago. The files, company data and sales records they seized revealed a food trading racket that spanned three continents.

At its heart was a fraud centred on raspberries. Low-cost frozen berries grown in China were being shipped to a packing plant in central Chile. Hundreds of tons of fruit were repackaged and rebranded by Frutti di Bosco as premium Chilean-grown organics, then shipped to consumers in Canadian cities including Vancouver and Montreal, according to documents prepared by Chilean Customs as part of its investigation. The agency calculated that at least $12 million worth of mislabelled raspberries were sent to Canada between 2014 and 2016.

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Chile diversifies blueberry markets 

Chile diversifies blueberry markets 


The Chilean Blueberry Committee forecasts stable export volumes in 2020-21 despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The CBC is working to diversify its export markets, given the current overdependence on the US and China. Although shipments fell to Chile’s main market, the US (-13%), exports to Asia and Europe were up 20% and 8% respectively. 

The CBC forecasts exports of fresh berries will be close to 111,000 tons in 2020/21, which is 2% more than in the previous campaign. Meanwhile, organic exports increased 16% and now account for 14% of the total volume.

Photo: CBC

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Southern Hemisphere grapes withstand impact of pandemic

Southern Hemisphere grapes withstand impact of pandemic

The Southern Hemisphere exported 1.315 billion tons of grapes in the 2019/20 marketing year. Even though the Southern Hemisphere 2019-20 grape campaign was hit by the effects of the pandemic, by adapting rapidly, export levels remained fairly stable. Patented varieties are making significant progress compared to classic varieties. Peru’s growth continues, while Chile’s crop was smaller due to adverse weather, political and commercial conditions.

Chile is still the undisputed number one, but its primacy has been challenged in recent years. Chile’s share had dropped from 70% to around 45%. Climatic, structural, and commercial problems complicated business for the Chilean grape sector. Despite this, around 600,000 tons were exported, a volume only slightly lower than the previous year. New varieties and improvements in driving managed to partially compensate for the drought decline. The main market continues to be the US, which traditionally receives half of exports. Chilean companies have a long tradition and experience in the North American market and strong commercial ties with importers and large retail chains. This has not changed substantially in recent years. There was greater movement in the other destinations. Chile partially withdrew from Europe, having importance only towards the end of the campaign. Also Russia no longer buys the volumes of other years. But in contrast, Chile grew in Asia, a continent to which it sends a third of its shipments. With regard to varieties, Chile has reduced its dependence on Thompson and Flame Seedless. These contributed 40% of the shipments 10 years ago but currently only account for 18%. The share of Crimson and Red Globe has remained steady at 22% and 25% respectively. However, patented varieties have seen their exports double in the last year. Despite this progress, Chile was one of the last Southern Hemisphere countries to incorporate them.

In the 2019/20 campaign, Peru set a new export record of almost 400,000 tons. Part of the success is due to the strong shift in production towards new varieties. Initially, Peru produced Red Globe, a variety that contributed 80% of exports. But thanks to a great reconversion effort, the country no longer depends on the Globe Network, which currently only contributes a third of exports. Within the classics, Sugraone and Crimson are also major varieties. But patented ones like Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration, Jack’s Salute, Timpson, and Allison have seen great progress, with exports increasing by 30-90% during the last year. These 5 contributed 24% of shipments in 2019/20.

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Chile optimistic about trade with China

Chile optimistic about trade with China


As China’s economy begins to recover, Chilean fruit exporters breathe a sigh of relief.  At a virtual conference organised by Fedefruta on Wednesday, Chile’s ambassador to China, Luis Schmidt, said that Chilean fruit exports had increased in recent months, as China gets back onto its feet after the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, Chile has been intensifying its efforts to comply with China’s demanding phytosanitary regulations. 

Schmidt expects 2020/21 to be a good cherry season for Chilean exports. Cherry exports between January and August 2020 were up 6% to 145,000 tons (US$954 million, -7%) compared to the same period in 2019. China received 94% of the total. As its main trade partner, exports to China are becoming ever more crucial to Chile’s economy. This year, China has received 37% of Chile’s total export volume.

According to the latest data, Chilean fresh fruit exports dropped 7% to 2.13 million tons between January and August this year and were worth US$3.757 billion (-12% from the same period last year). Grape exports were down 7% to 600,600 tons (US$968 million, -21%). The US (45%) is the biggest market for Chile’s grapes, followed by China (18%).


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Water consumption monitoring tech can provide huge savings

Water consumption monitoring tech can provide huge savings

A company Chile has developed award-winning technology that can provide significant savings on water and energy consumption.


Santiago, Chile – Sept. 10, 2020 – Hydroscada offers integrated solutions to large agricultural operations, allowing them to see in real-time exactly how much water is being used throughout their farms and facilities, and to make improvements and increased efficiencies where possible.

Company representatives say it has so far helped customers to optimize water consumption in their irrigation and well extraction systems.

It also offers companies the ability to measure energy consumption, thereby greater reducing the energy bills and making the operations more sustainable, achieving energy savings of up to 65.7%.

In addition, its Effective Extraction Monitoring System (MEE) solution for wells and open channels helps users to comply with new regulations being implemented in Chile that require reporting of water consumption amid a severe drought in much of the country.

Speaking with ahead of the Agricultural Water Summit, the company’s Commercial Manager Arturo B. Valdés explained that Hydroscada had initially been focused on irrigation systems after it was created in 2002. But since then it has evolved significantly with the development of technologies that help Chilean companies face both high energy costs and the effects of climate change.

In 2017, Hydroscada won the Avonni National Innovation Prize, in the ‘Entel Digital Solutions’ category, for its ‘Water Rights online’ project. With it, energetically autonomous hardware and software can be used to measure flow rates and water levels.

“The award was for a water flow monitoring system, which allows the farmers to know how much water they are actually using, how much they are entitled to, and how much actually enters their fields,” Valdés said. “There the whole story behind Hydroscada came together – the Internet, a platform, and measurement.”

He explained that many farms lose huge quantities of water due to problems in their canals, for instance due to rocks obstructing the channel. On large farms with an expansive irrigation system, this can be especially problematic and difficult to monitor.

“This product is therefore very useful for farms that have a lot of irrigation canals, to be able to monitor them in real-time,” he said.

Since 2019, Hydroscada has been part of the ecosystem of telecoms company Entel Ocean to “massify and strengthen” the SGE remote monitoring technology. They have been working closely together since then, developing MEE systems for water in wells, to help companies comply with new regulations currently being implemented in 10 regions by the General Water Directorate (DGA).

Due to the severe drought being experiencing through Chile’s central and northern regions, the DGA is requiring that all farms and farming companies measure and regularly report exactly how much water they are using – a system that Valdes says many farms do not currently have.

He says that digitization will allow agriculture to be empowered to increase its productivity while complying with the DGA regulations. The solution offered by Hydroscada and Entel Ocean ensures connectivity and reports, in addition to including alarms and real-time data as a management tool, to achieve efficient use of water.

The company has also been installing its MEE systems on the farms of major Chilean agricultural companies and vineyards.

An integrated, value-added solution

Aside from its almost two decades of expertise, one of Hydroscala’s unique selling points is its offering of an integrated, value-added system, as well as its experience across many areas. Unlike many other companies, it covers the measuring of both energy and water consumption across a farm’s entire operations.

“We are a little bit like the primary care doctor for the agricultural industry,” said Amparo Dominguez, Head of Innovation and Marketing at Hydroscada.

“Nowadays there are lots of technological solutions, and what Hydroscada does is bring them together through alliances in an integrated solution.”

Tackling the water crisis in Chile

Asked what they believe is necessary for Chile to do in order to overcome the water crisis, which is already crippling parts of the agricultural sector, the Hydroscada representatives said that it is essential to monitor water consumption and know exactly how much everyone is using.

“In that sense, I think that what the DGA is doing is the right thing, and it’s what must be done,” said Valdes.

“The first thing that has to be done in any shortage is measure. Measure how much is being used, know if you have a right to use it, and confirm if you’re using it efficiently. That’s the first step in all this, and it’s what the DGA started doing last year. Now it’s beginning to carry out inspections.”

He also explained that although Chile has been under drought conditions for many years, a lot of farmers are beginning initiatives to look after water.

“There are improvements that can be done very easily and very quickly that allow you to save water,” he said.

Dominguez added that the industry is facing a scenario in which it must produce more food as the population grows but with a more efficient use of water.

“Crises such as this are an opportunity to grow and readapt,” she said, highlighting the need to not just save but also reuse water – such as gray water, the majority of which goes to the sea.

It is important to learn from other countries and regions that have been successful in developing and implementing technologies to save and reuse water too, she said, such as Israel, Australia and California.

“We’re not talking about reinventing the wheel, but bringing technology that has been proven to work elsewhere,” she said.

Public-private partnerships will also be essential to overcome the major challenges, with all stakeholders working together to find and implement solutions.

“In Chile there is lots of innovation and lots of talent, but we also need to see how other more developed countries have overcome these challenges, and that is why we want to be in the Agricultural Water Summit,” she said. “We have invested a lot in innovation and developing technologies, and we are consolidated, so we want to contribute with these proven solutions and massify them.”

Agricultural Water Summit

The first-ever edition of the Agricultural Water Summit will take place on April 20, 2021 in the Hotel Monticello Conference Center in San Francisco de Mostazal. 

Organized 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 with using innovative techniques and farm management styles to limit the impacts of drought on horticultural operations.

Fostering multisectoral 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. 

Key topics to be discussed during the day include new technologies and innovations for more efficient use of water, research on the water requirements of specific horticultural crops and varieties, interbasin transfer, alternatives to improve the distribution of resources, and the current situation of the water crisis both in Chilean agricultural regions and around the world.

For more information on the Agricultural Water Summit, click here.

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Bumper cherry crop expected for Chile

Bumper cherry crop expected for Chile © Réussir Fruits et Légumes
© Réussir Fruits et Légumes


Chile’s 2020/21 cherry crop year is projected to increase by 12.1% to 286,000 tons, due to favourable climatic conditions and increasing planted area. The larger harvest is expected to drive up exports by 13% to 259,000 tons, according to USDA/FAS data. Planted area expands steadily at a 10% annual growth rate, with the cherry planted area forecast to reach 42,200 hectares in 2020/21. New cherry orchards increase productivity every year, giving Chile a high productive potential, which according to experts may reach over 345,000 tons by 2023/24. According to the Chilean Plant Nurseries Association (as reported by  the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association ASOEX), more than 5.6 million cherry plants were sold in 2019 and of those, more than 80% correspond to the varieties Regina, Santina, and Lapins. Cherry growers have opted for harvesting early in the season (October-November) expecting to obtain better prices in China when the supply is lower. 

In 2019/20, cherry exports reached a record 228,923 tons, up 27.2% on 2018/19. Export value increased by 43% to US$1.2 billion. China is firmly Chile´s top market for cherries, accounting for 90% of total export volume, while the United States is the second top market. However, Chilean cherry exports to the United States account for only 2% of total Chilean fresh cherry exports, and shipments to the US decreased by 4.55% in 2019/20. In early February, during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 3,000 containers of Chilean cherries were on their way or arriving in China, specifically with late harvest cherry varieties. Chilean exporters stated that some of the sea ships were delayed and some shipments were stuck at Chinese ports, which carried a high risk of losing those exports considering cherries are a perishable product.  However, shipments were eventually released and managed to arrive at the Chinese market. Despite the difficulties and delays, cherry export volume to China increased by 31.62% in 2019/20 over 2018/19. Chilean cherry exporters expect Chinese demand will continue to expand, offering new market opportunities for Chilean cherries in China’s inner cities. 

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Chilean truckers’ union chief issues warning as strike comes to end

Chilean truckers’ union chief issues warning as strike comes to end: José Villagrán, president of the Federacion de Camioneros del Sur (Fedesur) © MULTIGREMIAL DE LA ARAUCANÍA
José Villagrán, president of the Federacion de Camioneros del Sur (Fedesur) /// © MULTIGREMIAL DE LA ARAUCANÍA


Chile’s agri-food exporters welcomed the announcement on Wednesday that the truckers were lifting their seven-day national strike, which had jeopardised exports. However, there is still a threat hanging over the sector, following an ominous warning from the leader of the union representing southern truckers: “We will be attentive that what we have agreed is fulfilled. If it is not fulfilled, we will return to the roads,” said Jose Villagran, president of the Federacion de Camioneros del Sur (Fedesur), according to Diario Financeiro. 



The protest was called to pressure the Chilean government into to speeding up approval of a series of laws to protect trucks from attacks by indigenous groups unhappy about the perceived overdevelopment of certain regions. 

To get around the strike, some suppliers from Chile’s Magallanes region diverted trucks across the Argentine border and put products on cargo flights from the capital Buenos Aires.

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China welcomes first Chilean oranges

China welcomes first Chilean oranges © ASIA FRUIT LOGISITCA


The first Chilean oranges have entered China, where they were welcomed with a ceremony at Jiaxing Haiguangxing Market, which has close ties with the Chilean Export Association. Chile, the Southern Hemisphere’s second-largest orange producer, exports about 18 million tons between May and November each year. Chilean oranges and lemons have a great price-quality ratio in comparison with oranges and lemons from other countries and require no refrigeration. 

China imports huge volumes of oranges from the Southern Hemisphere, with imports from Egypt growing in recent years. The citrus import market is slowly improving following the setbacks experienced during the Covid pandemic. South African grapefruit is doing particularly well. 

The Jiaxing Haiguangxing Market has quickly developed into a trade centre for premium fruit in the last two years, with trade value increasing by 10.3% this year alone, and trade volume up by 13.1%. 

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IG International, having handled blueberries for three years now has brought the first shipment of blueberries from Chile to India, for the season 2020

IG, having handled blueberries for three years now has brought the first shipment of blueberries from Chile to India, for the season 2020

                                                                                                                                                                                         Press release

IG International, India’s largest fresh fruits importer has a strong base in the metro cities among its urban Indian consumers.

With regards to its intent to bring about the freshest produce to Indian markets, IG International has acquired its first shipment of Chile Blueberries for the 2020 season, to India. The organization intends to import 80MT  of these sweet and nutritious Blueberries for the 2020 Season. This healthy fruit has been remarked by fairly high consumption and subsequently high sales and will be retailed across metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Cochin. It will be made available at Foodhall and Nature’s Basket  and Star Bazaar outlets.It is now also available on the IG- ecommerce platform.       

Many studies have proven that these blueberries decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases, and overall mortality. They help in the improvement of bone strength, skin health, blood pressure, hair growth, digestion and brain functioning while also contributing significantly in the prevention of cancer, combating muscle damage and UTIs, and boosting energy and memory capacity, anti-ageing and mental health. Blueberries have been termed as the king of antioxidants and superfood due to their unmatched nutritional value. Blueberries contain iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese among the other flavonoids and enzymes while being one of the richest sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Among the top and recommended fruits and vegetables with the highest health and taste ranking per calorie intake, blueberries manage to be at the front line with an ANDI score of 132 owing to its nutrient density. Blueberries are gaining popularity as great dog-foods too for their low calories, high antioxidants, vitamins and fibrinogens.                                       

Being imported in varieties of Semana, Jewel, Star, Ventura, Emerald, Legacy, Duke, and Brightwell etc. by IG International, these blueberries are being sold at approx INR 2000 per kg.                                        

On the shipment of Blueberries from Chile, ​Tarun Arora, Director, IG International ​said, “It is so amazing to see that this superfood is acquiring a larger audience every season, especially among the Indian urban customers. IG International is known to abide by its motto which is to strive until we provide the best and its pristine form and Chile Blueberries are simply among the best in the world. We had been planning to cater to our Indian audience with this rich variant of the world’s best blueberries since long, and it feels great to have received the first shipment of this 2020 season. These sweet and exclusive blueberries will surely tantalize Indian taste buds and we are expecting a surge in the sales of this season after this shipment from Chile.”                                                                  

Mr. Hugo Salvestrini, the Chilean trade commissioner (Pro Chile office in Delhi), expressing his gratitude towards IG International said “It is so good to see a trade happening between the two countries. We are hoping for a great response from the Indian Customers. We are also expecting a rise in sales as compared to the previous seasons because of its increasing popularity and high demands.”                             

We are really happy to start trading blueberries with India. We are expecting a great response from the customers and we hope to keep growing with all of our products and especially with the Blues added- Mr. Federico Casas, Export Manager- Exportadora Reina Sur.

IG International currently imports 32 global varieties of fruits from 22 countries to India and distributes these to multiple cities through its nation-wide distribution network. IG International is importing around 80 MT of this sweet and nutritious fruit for consumption majorly in the cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Pune, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kolkata, Cochin, Patna, and Nagpur. The awareness, consumption and subsequent sales of blueberries are evidently increasing in the country. IG International currently holds a market share of 42% for the superfood with its diverse range of high-quality exotic fruit offerings while blueberry continues to stay at the top in the list of superfoods. The company’s primary customers for blueberries are supermarkets, restaurants and hotels.        


About IG International Pvt. Ltd.:                                                  

With fresh produce procurement spanning 25 countries and handling capacities of over 32 varieties of fruits, IG International has established its mettle in delivering on the diversified tastes of the Indian markets. Dedicated to providing high-quality natural products to its consumers, IG International Pvt. Ltd. is India’s one of the largest fresh produce importers. Dealing with the core activity of importing fresh fruits from all over the world, IG currently secures the best of exotic fruits globally all year round to supply the demand for high-quality fresh produce in India.

​Exportadora Reina Sur:

Aiming to produce 1600 tonnes of blueberries, Reina Sur is ​a Grower-Exporter Company of fresh fruit with more than 12 years of experience in the industry. They mainly export blueberries, cherries, table grapes and stone fruits.

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Agricultural Water Summit moved to September 22, 2020

Agricultural Water Summit moved to September 22, 2020

The first event focused on the water crisis affecting the agricultural industry has announced a new date in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The event has been moved to Sept. 22, 2020 and will still take place at the Monticello Conference Center and Hotel in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile.

The Agricultural Water Summit will provide an excellent opportunity for different actors related to water in agriculture and other affected industries to come together for a dynamic and in-depth conversation. Innovation, education, and cooperation will key critical in the search for new solutions for the use, reuse and generation of water for agriculture.

Gustavo Yentzen, general manager of event organiser the Yentzen Group, said the day will provide a unique opportunity for attendees. “The Agricultural Water Summit will be the first multi-sectoral event for water in the agricultural industry. The event will play an important role in the industry by facilitating the discussions, business, and development of innovations necessary to overcome the water crisis. It will be a key opportunity for small, medium and large producers to connect with other actors involved with water and be part of a new kind of agriculture that is sustainable, innovative, efficient, and collaborative.  It will be a space to talk about the water crisis that is affecting the whole world, and whose relevance has been reduced recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Yentzen added that although the Yentzen Group is the organiser of the event, the Agricultural Water Summit has grown and evolved hand in hand with other entities, such as: the Israeli Embassy in Chile; the Association of Irrigation and Drainage (Agryd); the Latin American Association of Desalination and Reuse of Water (Aladyr); the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture; the National Commission of Irrigation (CNR); the Chilean Fruit Exporters’ Association (Asoex); the National Society of Agriculture (SNA); and the Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta), among others. Invitations have been extended to numerous companies, countries, and national and international organizations that have developed innovations to overcome water-related challenges. These guests will be part of a programme that will highlight diverse and creative solutions for the preservation and management of water.

About the event

The Agricultural Water Summit 2020 will be a meeting point for the global agricultural industry, bringing together world-class experts. During the day, numerous key issues related to the water crisis in Chile and around the world will be addressed, such as the importance of applying new technologies and optimizing current irrigation systems for the efficient management and use of water.

The day will be divided into three sections that will allow attendees to gain an integrated and strategic vision of how to efficiently use this scarce and indispensable resource. The first section will analyse the experiences of Australia, Israel, and the U.S. state of California, and the knowledge they have acquired. The second will be focused on the efficient management of irrigation water, evapotranspiration and the important role of technology and genetic innovation in the productivity and efficient consumption of water of crops. The third section will address the collaborative work and the interdisciplinary initiatives related to water in different parts of society.