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Inside the Chilean Industry Quality System for Exported Blueberries
The companies that comprise the Chilean Blueberry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) account for more than three-quarters of Chile’s world-leading export volume of blueberries, which stood at 109,269 tons for the 2019/20 season. While Chilean blueberries have long been enjoyed by consumers in North America and Europe, which together receive approximately 85% of Chile’s blueberry export volume, demand in China has been inching up in recent years alongside rising consumer interest in all types of berries.
With volumes of Chilean blueberry arrivals to China peaking in time for the Chinese New Year fruit gifting season, Produce Report sought to understand more about how the Chilean Blueberry Committee is working to ensure that international markets receive a top-quality Chilean blueberry product.
The mission of the Chilean Blueberry Committee is to advocate for, develop and continually improve Chilean blueberry production and exports. One of the key pillars of the Chilean Blueberry Committee is the development of its quality system. Within that quality system, a particular area of focus is introducing and encouraging the production of new blueberry varieties that grow a sweeter, firmer berry that can travel long distances and arrive to export markets in top condition.
This Chilean Blueberry Committee quality system also covers areas such as orchard management, harvesting, post-harvest and fruit quality standards. Such a comprehensive system means that any importer or distributor can be assured that members of the Chilean Blueberry Committee are producing the safest and highest quality blueberries possible for export.
Another important role of the Chilean Blueberry Committee is its publication of weekly crop reports (available online, in English and Spanish) with statistics about production and exports, as well as other key information that can help purchasers in China make better decisions.
In addition to taking a leadership role in quality standards for blueberries, the Chilean Blueberry Committee has also played a key role in the development and implementation of even more stringent health and safety standards in response to the global COVID-19 epidemic. The standards followed by members of the Chilean Blueberry Committee ensure that the blueberries exported to China comply with not only China’s market regulations but also the international standards established by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Also of great importance to the Chilean Blueberry Committee’s work are its efforts to stimulate consumption in international markets. To this end, it held Chilean blueberry events in China from late December through mid-January. These included a launch event at Jiaxing Haiguangxing Premium Fruits Market and Chilean blueberry workshops at Zhengzhou Wanbang International Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market, Chongqing Double Blessing International Farm Trade City, and Changsha Hongxing Market.
It appears that the efforts of the Chilean Blueberry Committee to provide markets with a safe and healthy product and stimulate consumption are paying off in China, even in these challenging times. So far for the 2020/21 blueberry selling season in China, the product is continuing to move well, according to information received from exporters, distributors and retailers.
Image: Chilean Blueberry Committee (ASOEX)
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