Big drop for Chilean organic food last year

May 16 , 2012

The Chilean Office of Agricultural Studies and Policy (ODEPA) has found the country's total surface area dedicated to organic food fell by 20% to 119,953 hectares in 2010-11.

ODEPA said the non-certification of around 38,000ha of wild food collection land contributed to the fall, while the surface area of cultivated organic crops dropped by 15%.

Surface area dedicated to 'smaller fruits' decreased by 44% to 3,057ha, while the area dedicated to 'larger fruits' fell by 7% to 3,850ha. Vegetable cultivation area declined by 10% to 161ha.

One positive for the sector was an 18% jump in land for organic wine grape vineyards, reaching 4,536ha.

The agency said it was yet to be seen whether the downward trend continued in 2011-12.

Fruits concerned

The ODEPA report highlighted apples as the biggest crop in the 'larger fruits' category with 1,275ha, followed by olive trees (1,063ha), avocados (767ha), kiwifruit (363ha), cherries (111ha) and plums (78ha).

In the 'smaller fruits' category, blueberries made up 54% of the surface area at 1,661ha, while raspberries accounted for 38% at 1,171ha.The report said a total of 202ha was dedicated to organic blackberries, strawberries and gooseberries.

The region of Bio Bio accounted for the biggest share of organic food surface area, with 71,305ha out of a total of 119,953ha.

Exports

For the 2010-11 season, Chile's exports of organic 'larger fruit' stood at 19,555 metric tons (MT), led by apples (15,595MT), kiwifruit (2,446MT) and avocados (1,288MT).

Exports of 'smaller fruit' were lower at 8,335MT, led by blueberries (5,320MT),  raspberries (2,296MT), strawberries (395MT) and blackberries (344MT).

In terms of market destinations, North America purchased 20,543MT of Chilean organic fruit over the period, 7,009MT went to Europe, and 321MT were sent to Asia and Oceania.

European buyers received 3.796 million liters of Chilean organic wine, followed by the U.S. (1 million liters), Asia (197,850 liters) and Latin America (87,889 liters).

North America purchased 83,267 liters of Chilean organic olive oil, while Asia was the second-largest buyer with 10,764 liters.

2012 data so far

ODEPA statistics show Chile exported 4,727MT of organic apples between January and February this year, along with 1,411MT in exports of organic apple preparation products.

In the four month period organic blueberry exports were already higher than for the whole 2010-11 season at 5,976MT.

www.freshfruitportal.com

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