Chile walnut industry expects greater price returns next year

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Chile walnut industry expects greater price returns next year

Chile's walnut production looks set to increase by 17% next year to 46,000 metric tons (MT) next year, according to Chilenut vice-president Vittorio Bianchini.

He told delegates at the 'Chile nuts marketing: challenges and opportunities 2012'  seminar that the country's exports could be as high as 41,600 MT in 2012.

This would position Chile as the second largest walnut exporter in the world after the U.S. and the fourth largest producer pushing France into fifth place.

Bianchini said the growth is due to better management of existing orchards and the constant increase in the acreage planted with walnut trees.

In 2005 Chile had 15,000 hectares which climed to 25,000 in 2010 - a 67% rise.

This year it's estimated that Chile has 27,000 hectares devoted to walnut orchards.

Higher nut consumption and access to new markets have boosted the industry.

Bianchini said the fact walnuts were seen as healthy and part of the Mediterranean diet had helped.

"It's a healthy product with a good taste. Also, it is fashionable to consume food high in nutrients and they are attractive for cocktail decorations," said Bianchini.

He predicted that returns to the producer in 2012 would rise to US$2 per lb compared with US$1.95 per lb in 2011.


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