Falling prices at the beginning of the Chilean nut season

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Exponut, is the biggest event of the Chilean walnut industry. It brings together more than 400 producers, exporters, suppliers, investors, and entrepreneurs from the nut sector each year and includes technical and commercial seminars, as well as the largest specialized exhibition in products, services, and machinery for that sector.

Exponut is organized by the Association of Producers and Exporters of Chile AG and aims to report the trends and developments that have occurred during the year regarding nut production, technology, innovation, development, markets, and marketing.

On April 24, Exponut was carried out for the first time under the merger of the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nuts (Chilenut) and the Chilean Walnut Commission. In addition, two records were broken, as the event was attended by an audience of nearly 500 people; and all the stands of the exhibition area were sold.

The event began with the participation of the new president of Chilenut, Nicolas Di Cosmo, who highlighted “the transcendental stage that the nut industry was going through. It’s an unprecedented fact. Two forces that are in constant movement put aside their differences in favour of the sector’s general interests, understanding that both producers and marketers need each other, the success or failure of either, inevitably affects the other.”

Di Cosmo also said that “we have reached a civic and business maturity rarely seen, the future of the nut sector doesn’t admit double readings. In 2020 we will be producing almost twice as much as we do now, considering that the plantations already exceed 43 thousand hectares and that we are the second crop with the most plantations in Chile.”

He also said success wasn’t assured, as they belonged to “a sector that depends on innumerable non-controllable variables,  such as climate, government policies, and phytosanitary patrimony, among others.  We, as a guild, can have an influence on some of these variables.”  Di Cosmo also said that they also depended on “external variables, such as demand, other origins, consumer, and everything that happens to them. This determines the role that this new entity must have. That’s why we speak of order, market intelligence, promotion, linking, defence, quality, etc.”

Summary of the presentations

In other presentations, industry experts gave spoke about the future of the nut. Juan Esteban Rodriguez, for example, said that “unfortunately, the projections have changed. A few months ago we had much higher price projections, but the prices of other countries began to fall before the start of our campaign, which has forced us to enter a market with falling prices.”

According to Vittorio Bianchini, “Chile will maintain a volume dedicated to a high-quality market, for which there will be more and more productions, as this type of market encourages productions and the evolution of the sector. The quality of the Chilean nut is becoming increasingly similar to the Californian product and 60% of it is produced by large orchards. We are confident that we will continue to maintain the harvested by hand quality, which always has a higher pulp and skin quality than the fruits that are harvested mechanically.”

Meanwhile, Andres Castellanos stated that his company needed to make a very accurate survey of what the nut industry produces. “There are statistics that say there have been crimes in this sector, such as the theft of products. Despite there being fewer and fewer complaints from producers we know that crimes are increasing. This is what we are interested in, this problem and finding solutions to it,” he said.

In the short term, one of the main concerns of producers is to market their harvest because production volumes are increasing, stated Rafael Bianchini, the Executive Director of the Frunut company. “In the medium term, we have to maintain an optimal and homogeneous quality to meet the demands of the markets. In the long term, we need to develop plans to compete with California, with powerful promotion campaigns that allow us to reach all origins,” he added. Edmundo Valderrama said they had observed a decrease in sizes and characteristics. As a result, he added, the product is no longer as good as it used to be.

Finally, Marcela Aravena stated that “the union of the two associations that celebrate EXPONUT has been very positive. It allows us to boost the promotion of the Chilean supply in the nut industry, something that will give strengthen it in the world and that will help Chile compete against California’s offer.”

Source: Fresh Plaza

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