Advertorial: The Chilean kiwifruit industry - home of great farmed produce
With a sense of optimism in spite of the losses caused by Psa which is affecting production in the Bio Bio and Maule regions, the kiwifruit industry has come together to improve orchard management and prevent the spread of the disease. The thinking behind it: a great product is born at the farm.
During Subsole's seminar 'Building profitability and quality for our kiwifruit', the company shared the work it had been undertaking in innovating production techniques and post-harvest operations - one of the pillars of the company's export strategy.
The seminar discussed technical information that producers could use to improve their orchard management, such as irrigation, plant nutrition, and the use of new technologies like probes and plastic sheeting.
Innovation in production techniques, irrigation and nutrition
The exporter Subsole has been introducing electronic probes onto its growers' farms that measure the soil moisture levels at different depths every 15 minutes. This provides important information to the producer when making important decisions, such as when to irrigate and how much water the plants need.
Monitoring can be done via a website portal available to the growers, and the system helps to lower costs while increasing the irrigation's efficiency.
Lowering the climatic impact to boost productivity
Raffia fibre, mesh nettings and plastics can all be used to reduce the impact of climatic variables which can adversely affect exposed plants, whether they be frosts, ultraviolet rays or sudden changes in temperature.
These measures are already being used throughout the world, and Subsole has introduced them mainly on table grape vineyards, but also on kiwifruit orchards. With grapes, the fruit has shown greater consistency in both size and color, and the plastic even protected grapevines from the 2013 frosts. It was after learning of these results that this year Subsole began to experiment with kiwifruit orchards.
While there are still no concrete results, it is estimated that when the temperatures drop, plantations under plastic sheeting are more protected, as they are not imposed to the direct impacts of the climate and enjoy they better humidity. It should be noted that kiwifruit orchards need humid conditions and high temperatures for optimum growth.
Christian Abud, managing director of Christian Abud y Compañía spoke about his experience with this type of cover.
"We are way ahead of the rest and currently pioneers in the country. We are going experiment in two areas, Sagrada Familia and Molina, using two hectares in each one with the Jintao variety. At the moment we are bringing the plastic throughout customs and we hope to have the results by the end of the year," Abud said.
José Tomás Alvear, technical manager for cherries and kiwifruit at Subsole highlighted the importance of this project for the company.
"Innovation is one of the pillars of Subsole's strategy. The development of these kinds of projects allows us to grow professionally and advance the development of alternatives to improve our production, which nowadays has to be top-notch, but at the same time they are constantly put to the test by our planet's changing climate," Alvear said.
Carlos Cruzat, president of the Kiwifruit Committee
"This reflects an extremely caring company policy, from production to the final destination, and it is therefore an improvement on the traditional vision on how to market kiwifruit. This is a different model, much more modern, and it is in line with the Committee's vision. This exporter is one of the leaders that serves as an example of how we should be working."
Javiera Lozano, representative of International Produce
"We can see that in the technical area there is a lot to do in the field, as it is the business' foundation to produce a delicious and consistent product. As mentioned in the seminar and it must be the growers' slogans to know that with a good product you can do good business."