Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.
Chile: Kiwi industry prepares strategy to increase qualityThursday, January 25, 2018 > 09:23:33
The Chilean kiwi industry has been working since 2015 on various initiatives to achieve a a better fruit quality and condition to face the future changes in international markets, and in this specific industry worldwide. All this, through a consensus within the industry that will materialize into a Chilean Kiwi Strategy in 2018, which will allow the sector not only to make a leap in terms of fruit quality, but also to face a future scenario where there will be greater volumes and new rivals in a more competitive way.
"In 2015, ASOEX invited the entire industry to an analysis workshop, and then we began working on commissions to advance the improvements that were necessary to implement. In 2017 we did an analysis to see, for example, what kind of fruit quality we were producing; and we studied what happened to the fruit from the moment it was harvested, packed, and arrived at destination.
This information was then presented at the regional seminars we held last year, where the industry agreed that it was necessary to implement changes, especially as the Chinese market, which is very demanding in terms of quality, especially in form and taste, is currently offering us very good growth opportunities," stated Carlos Cruzat, the Chairman of the Chilean Kiwi Committee.
As a result of this work and of the agreements assumed in the regional kiwi seminars, the industry established a 6.2% Brix of soluble solids as an index of harvest maturity, which is an international parameter highly applied by the kiwi producing and exporting countries. "We also set a goal of 16% in dry matter because international markets, in general, are oriented to taste, so we should also aim that way," he said.
"These changes are not only about modifying the ripeness parameters of the fruit, it's also about how we improve the production processes, for example, ensuring the fruit has a greater quantity of seeds, which allows it to have a better shape, greater dry matter, and be stored better, means improving the pollination process, incorporating a greater number of males, and pollination technologies that are now being used in the world. The whole process is part of a chain. If a part of the chain fails, we won't reach our final goal, which is achieving a better fruit," he added.
According to Cruzat, other aspects to be modified include thinning the crops at the right time, which is just before flowering, that is, "only leaving the flowers that will lead to a good quality on the plant, thus preventing the bees from carrying out unnecessary work, and promoting the flowers to curdle well. We are taking a look at production aspects that we seem to have forgotten, such as making a good pruning, which allows us to see what bud quality must be left. On the other hand, we also have the need to implement new technologies, such as meshes to protect fruit as well as opting for varieties that have a better post harvest, because of climate change, especially in the plantations of new varieties," he said.
Challenges and benefits
"We currently face two different kinds of important challenges. First, there are new suppliers worldwide, higher volumes and higher quality. Second, this presents us with an opportunity, as many of these new suppliers are helping to increase consumption. This means there is a greater market for kiwi in the counter season and that we have the possibility of complementing this supply, but only to the extent that our fruit has the high quality that is required," Carlos Cruzat added.
The professional said that the strategy was to anticipate the inevitable changes required by the sector. "The high volume of kiwi in the international market will force our industry to start the season later, which will modify its parameters and implies important changes and challenges for the sector, such as harvesting later, having less time to do it, and the need to implement technologies that allow us to better face climate effects, such as rain and frost, among others. Therefore, we are assuming this new strategy before we the market forces us to do it and on our own initiative. We are buying time, approximately two years."
Cruzat added that this could also be an opportunity to improve the quality of the fruit. "One of the benefits is that we can achieve a fruit that has a better shelf life, with a good condition and taste," he said.