In an effort to jump-start exports to the U.S. and other markets, Chilean agriculture officials have developed a new technology for shipping asparagus by boat.
Chile’s Foundation for Agricultural Innovation (FIA) has created a nutritious liquid that helps maintain asparagus quality for several weeks after harvest, according to an FIA news release.
The bottoms of asparagus bunches are wrapped in film, which holds the liquid.
Chile used to export asparagus to the U.S., but in 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. imported no Chilean asparagus.
To get to market on time, Chilean asparagus must currently ship mostly by air, which can be cost-prohibitive, according to FAI. The new liquid technology helps asparagus maintain its weight and quality in the three weeks it can take boats to transport asparagus from Chile to the U.S.
With the treatment, asparagus arrives in similar condition as if it were shipped by air, according to FAI.
In a trial involving the Santiago-based grower-shipper Decofrut, asparagus was shipped by boat from Chile to Miami. The shipment arrived in good condition and with no weight loss, according to FAI.