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Chinese Ambassador Previews Chilean-Bred Cherry Varieties During School Visit

December 23, 2021

Chile, the world’s largest exporter of fresh cherries, is set to bolster its reputation for innovation and continuous development in the global fresh fruit industry in coming years by introducing the first sweet cherry varieties completely bred and commercialized in Chile. The Chinese Ambassador to Chile, Niu Qingbao, had the opportunity to taste the fruit from some trial cherry varieties during a recent visit to learn about the educational work and initiatives being carried out at the San Vicente de Paul Agricultural School (EASV) in the town of Coltauco in the O’Higgins Region of Chile.

The visit was organized by the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) in its capacity as a member of the board and financial supporter of the rural high school. Ambassador Niu was joined by Ronald Bown, president of ASOEX; Sergio Maureira, secretary general of ASOEX; Marcelo Silva, director of the EASV; and several other representatives from the EASV and the Chinese Embassy.

“ASOEX is part of the Board of Directors of the San Vicente de Paul Agricultural School, and we believe it is important, through this visit, to showcase to the Chinese Ambassador to Chile, Niu Qingbao, Chile’s work in agricultural education and rural development, especially with regard to the fruit sector that has developed here,” said Bown. “The ambassador has previously accompanied us on various visits to orchards and packing facilities. Today we have been able to show him a different aspect of the fresh fruit industry, which will contribute to a more complete understanding of the industry and can also open the door for the development of joint projects between China and Chile.”

“This is my first time visiting an agricultural school in Chile,” said Ambassador Niu. “I considered it a very positive experience to learn much more about Chile’s work in agriculture.” He added that he was pleasantly impressed with the educational work carried out at the EASV, as well as its collaborative relationship with industry, as represented by ASOEX.

The EASV is a site for the Cherry Genetics Improvement Program of the ASOEX Fruit Technology Consortium, executed with the support of Chile’s Production Development Corporation (CORFO) and the Catholic University of Chile.

The ambassador was able to taste some of the 116 selections that are under evaluation as candidates to become the first 100% Chilean cherry varieties.

“We are pleased with the visit of the Chinese Ambassador to Chile, especially considering that the Chinese market is an important recipient of our fresh cherries,” said Marlene Ayala, director of the Cherry Genetics Improvement Program. “We were able to show him that we are on the right track to reach consumers in China and around the world with new high-quality cherries with a sweet taste.”

“It was very good to be able to sample the new varieties of cherries that are being developed in Chile and know that they will soon be reaching the Chinese market,” said Ambassador Niu, who also highlighted that these new developments speak to the innovative nature of the Chilean fruit sector.

Images: ASOEX

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