Chilean exporters sell unripe kiwifruit
The saying ‘one bad apple spoils the whole barrel’ is becoming a reality for Chilean kiwi exporters, with some producers taking advantage of high global prices and selling unripe fruit. In response the country’s industry body is taking action to ensure higher standards.
Low global supply and high prices have encouraged some Chilean kiwi exporters to sell unripe fruit to the U.S. and Europe, leading the country’s Kiwi Committee to take a stronger stand, according to Lanacion.cl.
The committee’s general manager Carlos Cruzat told the newspaper about the development of a Maturity Assurance Program (PAM), which will detect kiwi sugar levels to ensure quality for consumers.
“Chile has an extremely reliable image as a fruit producer in terms of hygiene and processing. But in the kiwi subsector the image is not so good, and that’s for the third-largest exporter of kiwis globally,” he was quoted as saying.
“There are some producers who are coming out early with their fruit, without reaching the necessary ripeness, because they find an international market in short supply and with a very good price. With this you will see damages for exporters who arrive after.
“We want the importers to know that firms attached to the committee go through a qualification process, where through the PAM we can affirm that they comply with internationally-validated ranges.”
Cruzat told La Nacion the current international market is such that kiwi exporters can receive prices between 50% and 100% higher than usual if they sell now.
But with the PAM standards in place importers will be much better placed to discern the opportunists from the genuine.
Chile exports 90% of its kiwi production with harvests taking place for around nine months of the year.