The industry still only accounts for 150 hectares but is leading the way in South American truffle cultivation, with output rising 45.8% this year to 3.5kg (7.7lbs).
The cultivation area covers five farms in the Maule, Araucanía, Los Ríos and Metropolitana regions, thanks to the government-backed initiative ‘Technological Development and Validation of the Truffle Industry in Chile, as a New Edible Fungus Agroindustry for Export Markets’.
The FIA highlights the very high values that the ‘black diamonds of gastronomy’ fetch in international markets, with an average of US$1,200 per kilogram this year.
The first truffles were introduced to Chile in 2002 and are now grown by local company Agrobiotruf, which has a standardized method for evaluating and selecting optimal sites for development. It is expected it will plant 60 hectares every year in a bid to take advantage of Chile’s counterseason with France, the U.S. and Japan.
The FIA forecasts annual production between 800-1000kg (1,760-2,200lbs) by 2015, focusing on the ‘Perigord’ black truffle that takes between five and seven years to mature and grow.