Chile solidifies role as global produce source

11/11/2011 12:10:00 PM
Jim Offner

Chilean growers compare well with the best in the world, said Mike Bowe, vice president of Dave’s Specialty Imports Inc., Coral Springs, Fla., which imports blueberries from Chile.

“They want to be productive and be a force as far as the blueberries,” he said. “At this point, they’re focused on planting and harvesting. Lately, they’ve been focused on maybe trying new varieties, being competitive, getting the yields they need.”

Chile also is maturing as an export market and is diversifying, said Jose Luis Obregon, former executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, Irvine, Calif.

“Their production has increased, but what they ship to the U.S. has shifted,” Obregon said. “They’ve found new markets in Europe and the domestic market. So what used to be an industry that highly depended on the U.S. has shifted, and competition has come onboard. So they have successfully found new markets. They’re a big player in Europe now.”

That trend will continue, Obregon noted.

“I think they’re an important player and, as consumption grows in the United States, they’ll continue to grow as a player,” he said.


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