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Chileans stand by Chinese partners during coronavirus outbreak

© Alexandra Sautois

 

Chilean Fruit Exports Association (Asoex) has offered support to China by offering to donate fresh fruits to the medical staff working to treat people affected by coronavirus. Containers filled with fresh Chilean produce sent to different ports across China had been held back due to the outbreak. With Chinese consumers turning to online markets to buy fresh produce, overall consumption has reduced. Shipping companies have been working to keep the containers in the market so as to increase availability of refrigerated storage.

In a statement issued by the organisation, Asoex president, Ronald Bown Fernandez, said: “It is complex, it requires constant monitoring as to how it evolves. We are relying on Chinese authorities to contain the virus, with the aim of returning to normalcy in the shortest period of time possible.” It’s unknown how long the current situation in China will last, with Asoex announcing it will work with the government to minimise the negative effectives by implementing a “specific campaign to promote the healthy attributes of fruit consumption”.

Around 265,000 tons of Chilean produce have been exported so far this season, with the main products being cherries, blueberries, table grapes, avocados, nectarines, plums, apples, and kiwifruit. This figure is up 27.7% from the same period last year.

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Chile puts people at the heart of sustainability policy

Chile puts people at the heart of sustainability policy, Ronald Bown, president of ASOEX
Ronald Bown, president of ASOEX

 

“Sustainability has to be based on a long-term vision and the commitment has to be institutional, which is why our association has defined it as a policy,” said Ronald Bown, president of ASOEX. “This means strengthening at all levels, internally and externally, everything that has to do with food safety and security, but always putting people at the centre, especially consumers and workers.” The concept of sustainability that guides the actions of the Chilean agricultural sector is a commitment to society, the environment and the economic viability of businesses, with special emphasis on the people involved in the process to ensure that workers perform their functions without harming others and consumers benefit from a product that is reliable and has complied with internal regulations, especially those relating to the workplace. “For us, social sustainability has three key sides: the consumer (linked to safety), workers, and the community,” said Bown.

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China’s nectarine market opening to Chile

Ronald Bown, president of the association representing Chile’s fruit exporters, Asoex, said Chile has the potential to eventually export in the region of a million boxes to China.

Chile will be able to export its nectarines to China as of next month, Chile’s agriculture minister Carlos Furche has announced.

After three years of negotiations and various meetings of officials from both countries, the relevant protocol is expected to be signed in November during a visit by the president of China to Chile.

In a press release, Furche, who is attending ChileWeek events in Miami, said Chile’s global nectarine exports already total about US $50 million a year.

He said the Chinese deal means Chile’s nectarine producers and exporters will have access to a market undergoing strong growth and provides opportunities to diversify their shipments.

It is also important amid what is a very competitive global market with the entry of new nectarine suppliers from countries in the European Union and in the Southern Hemisphere, Furche said.

Ronald Bown, president of the association representing Chile’s fruit exporters, Asoex, said Chile has the potential to eventually export in the region of a million boxes to China.

He said the export deal will benefit more than 500 producers and in turn help improve conditions for labourers.

“AQSIQ Vice Minister Mr. Wu Qinghai met with Minister of Agriculture of Chile Mr. Carlos Furche in Beijing on September 2, 2016. The two sides conducted in-depth discussions on the inspection and quarantine access of agricultual products and food mutually provided and reached several consensuses. After the meeting the two sides signed cooperation documents.
Chilean Ambassador to China, Director of Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service, Directors from Chilean associations in fruits, pork and meat, and officials from CNCA, Department of Supervision on Animal and Plant Quarantine and Department of International Cooperation of AQSIQ attended the meeting.”

source: AQSIQ

Source of image at top: Chilean ministry of agriculture