Chile: Systems Approach for table grapes vital to compete in US market

April 16 , 2024

Executives from Frutas de Chile met with the senators of the Chilean Atacama Region, Yasna Provoste and Rafael Prohens, to advance approval of Systems Approach protocol with the United States.

Iván Marambio, president of Frutas de Chile said, "We have never stopped looking for ways to find a solution to implement the Systems Approach or system without fumigation to send our fresh grapes to the United States. This meeting with Senators Provoste and Prohens is an example of that."

He said it was a very positive meeting, in which they planned coordinated action, and shared updates about the work they have been doing for more than 20 years, alongside the Ministry of Agriculture (SAG), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to establish a Systems Approach.

In this regard, Marambio said that the Systems Approach protocol has been approved by the phytosanitary agencies of both countries, USDA and SAG. Now the industry is awaiting publication in the U.S. Federal Register and the Diario Oficial in Chile. After this, implementation can begin for table grape exports from the regions of Atacama, Coquimbo, and Valparaíso.

The final publication has been delayed by an issue related to U.S. cheeses and the update of the Free Trade Agreement between Chile and the European Union.

"We have a common purpose, which is to improve the position of Chilean table grapes in international markets, particularly the United States, which is the main destination of the region's grapes," said Senator Provoste.

"Alongside Senator Rafael Prohens, we have stated that we must find a solution urgently because we expected that in the 2023-24 season, the system would be in place. This has been years of work, decades of negotiations and preparation, in which farmers have made significant investments, as well as the State," she added.

Senator Prohens pointed out that in the Atacama Region, grapes are important not only in terms of production and exports but also in generating labor, development, and growth in the region for the workers of the sector.

The Systems Approach allows table grapes to be exported without being fumigated against certain pests, such as Lobesia botrana, which the Atacama region has controlled.

"We are fighting so  that Chile can access this system and enter the United States under the same conditions that Peru and other countries have without fumigation. This is an issue for the condition upon arrival of the fruit, because when grapes are fumigated, they deteriorate and arrive in a very different state than those that are not fumigated, and this makes the person who is going to buy fruit go for the product that looks more natural and fresh," Prohens said. 

Miguel Canala-Echeverría, general manager of Frutas de Chile, said during the meeting, "This is key to compete with other countries that don't require fumigation and to improve the quality of our fruit. The approval of this protocol would benefit around 15,000 productive hectares of table grapes in our country, more than 1,500 producers, and 50,000 jobs in the north of the country."

Next steps to take

Senator Provoste explained that coordination is important to reach a solution. In this regard, she mentioned that they have also held meetings with the Foreign Ministry, and the U.S. Ambassador in Chile, with the Minister of Agriculture, with the Chilean Ambassador to the United States and soon they will meet with the Chancellor.

"We are also going to meet again, but more extensively with the U.S. Ambassador to Chile to look for alternative solutions. We believe that when good spirits converge on a common purpose, which is to improve the position of Chilean table grapes in the U.S. market, things work out," she said.

The senators said that Tuesday, April 16, they will meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Bernardette Meehan, to address the issue.

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Systems Approach for Chile: "Table grape industry's sustainability is at stake"

Chilean grape industry reacts to California’s opposal to Systems Approach

Chile and Peru will join together on Aug. 8, 2024, at the Global Grape Convention to be held at the Casino Monticello Events Center in Chile to discuss the biggest challenges of grapes worldwide.

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