Amid the crisis in the sector, Argentine fruit growers are trying to set foot in China.
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This week, Argentina sent 143,584 kilos of fruit, its second shipment of fruit this season, to the Chinese market. A low figure, taking into account what China buys from other nations, but a number that shows that the sector, which is determined to expand its marketing frontiers, is making progress.
According to statistics from the North Terminal of the Port of East San Antonio, by April 30, the country had exported 218 tons to China.
In 2015 Argentina only exported 63 tons of pears to China, so this year's latest shipment doubles what was sold last year. Exporting pears to one of the largest producers of fruit on the planet is not easy.
Chinese authorities have very strict sanitary and hygiene standards. They do not permit boxes that have signs of use, dirt, insects, or leaves of any kind. Additionally, they have very strict sanitary protocol on pests for all exporting countries.
Technicians from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), and the National Health Service and Food Quality (Senasa) inspected the shipment in a phytosanitary shed located in Villa Regina, in the heart of the Upper Valley of Rio Negro.
Chinese technicians inspect a sample of the shipments, which are checked in full at the destination. If the shipments present any issue regarding their health protocol, then they are destroyed or returned.
The region mainly produced Packham and D'Anjou pears, two types of pears that have a greater production volume in northern Patagonia.
The exporters of the Upper Valley expect to grow in alternative markets, such as Indonesia, the Philippines and India. In the first four months of 2016, Argentina shipped 22 tons of apples and 87 tons of pears to India.
Even though they are not large consumers, Argentina's fruit is very popular in this area of the world and its value in supermarkets is especially high.
"We aspire to grow in other markets, such as in India and in Southeast Asia with apples; that's the challenge posed by the country's current economy," said the manager of the Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (CAFI), Daniel Satragni.
According to statistics from Argentina Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers, the country exports around 460,000 tons of pears. So far in 2016, Argentina has shipped about 147,000 tons.
The main buyers of Argentine pears are the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States, which, all together have received some 80,000 tons of Argentine pears this year. ■
The Texas Transportation Commission, the governing body for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), approved the funding at its September 28 meeting on TxDOT’s Port Authority Advisory Committee (PAAC) recommendation.