Chilean walnut exporters search new markets as prices soar
The value of walnut exports have soared from US$20 million in 2001 to US$200 million in 2011, according to the Chilean National Association of Producers and Exporters of Walnuts (Chilenut).
Chilenut president Juan Luis Vial, said the massive rise in value was due to the high standard of the country’s product.
“We can state with absolute certainty that our products have become icons of quality in the world market. Everyone invovled in this industry has lined-up to this strategy,” he said in a seminar at Exponut 2012.
He warned the sector must avoid the temptation to turn into a mass market product and that this could be avoided by partial mechanization, maintaining Chile’s kudos as a top notch supplier.
Vial put the rise in value down to a favorable exchange rate, increased domestic production and good sales prices.
“We must spare no effort in research and technology transfer and must continue to support small producers, the pillar of our sector.”
Chile’s shelled nut shipments so far this year have reached 1,054.8 metric tons (MT) with nuts with shells reaching 1,133.2MT, according to the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (ODEPA).
Meanwhile, almond exports this year have reached 1,652.2MT (shelled) and 33MT (unshelled).
Chilenut reported the country’s nut production reached 40,000MT in 2011 with 90% of volumes exported.
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