Chile sends first figs to U.S.

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Chile sends first figs to U.S.

Chile sent its first figs to the U.S. last week after entry was approved by the U.S Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Chilean company Hortofrutícola Sudamericana sent the first exports on Apr. 12 by air, with expectations to send between 1,000 and 2,000 cases a week this season.

The fruit will be distributed in the U.S. by Western Fresh, a company that currently sells around 40% of the U.S. market's 10,000 pounds (4.5 metric tons) of figs purchased each year.

Western Fresh representative Luis Carrasco says the U.S. fig market is large, giving significant opportunities for Chilean exporters.

There is also a good commercial window as California's season begins in late-May, while Chile's volumes come out between March and April, mainly with the Black Mission variety. Chile's traditional markets have been Europe and Canada.

Carrasco says the opening up of the U.S. market presents a new opportunity to develop the Chilean industry and to look at new varieties.

The U.S. is currently the world's largest fig producer, while Turkey and Egypt are also major players.


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