Chile-South Korea blueberry protocol comes into effect

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Chile-South Korea blueberry protocol comes into effect

The world's leading blueberry exporter Chile is now officially allowed to ship blueberries to the South Korean market, after protocols for the agreement came into effect yesterday.

A Chilean Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) representative told the protocol includes monitoring for the presence of certain pests and diseases, especially fruit fly, as well as specific shelter conditions at the packing level to avoid insect contamination.

"Among other aspects raised in the protocol can be mentioned the need to include certain information in product labeling to allow for traceability.

"On arrival of Chilean blueberries in Korea, the country's phytosanitary authority can conduct an inspection to verify the product's condition - after that comes the process of commercialization from each company."

Agricultural minister Luis Mayol said the opening once again proved the East Asian country's trust in Chile's growers and institutions.

"After several years of negotiations and successfully overcoming all of the demands and requirements set by the South Korean authorities, finally the authorization to import Chilean blueberries is a reality," he said.

"Blueberries are currently enjoying great popularity in this market despite being virtually unknown until a few years ago: their antioxidant properties and high vitamin content have made them a highly desired product in a country whose population has an atavistic concern for the healthiness food.

"The possibilities for our blueberries are particularly auspicious considering local production is fairly limited and - in addition to Chile - Korea has only authorized the import of fresh blueberries from the U.S."

Chile's blueberry surface area has reached 8,000 hectares and has shown steady growth in recent years despite a slight drop off this last season. The new market is a positive sign for the country, which registered lower average prices for its blueberry exports in the first five months of this year.

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