In three or four years walnuts will be Chile's main crop
Staff Writer |
Currently Chile has more than 43 thousand hectares planted with walnut trees and 48 thousand hectares with table grapes.
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"Since the area devoted to walnut trees grows at a rate of 1,500 to 2,500 hectares a year, it would't surprise me if walnuts became Chile's main crop in 3 or 4 more years, even surpassing table grape crops, which have a more moderate growth" stated the newly assumed President of ChileNut, Nicolas Di Cosmo.
Annual production is expected to grow by 15-20%, and volumes are expected to increase fivefold in the next 5 years, amounting to around 500,000 tons.
This correlates to a growing global market that has new eating habits, where nuts, especially walnuts, account for a significant percentage of this diet. It is what happens in India, - an important market for Chilean in shell walnuts-, and a focus for the sector's promotion in 2018.
India is an extremely attractive market for Chilean walnut. This subcontinent of 1,300 million inhabitants has a huge and expanding middle class, with around 300 million people.
In addition, walnuts are one of the three main dried fruits consumed - together with almonds and cashews - which are an essential daily food in the Indian diet. Despite this, currently India consumes 36 thousand tons of nuts, a small number as China consumes about 450 thousand tons.
That is to say, the future can only be auspicious. In addition, Chile's production comes out in the counter season, which is perfect for the Indian festival season starting in July.
"Our challenge is maintaining good prices, but also our quality attributes." According to the market, we have the best nut in the world. Consumers perceive our product's quality. We achieve this quality thanks to our excellent production conditions, which allows us to give consumers a nut with a good color, flavor, caliber, and quantity.
"Furthermore, we have one of the freshest products on arrival in the northern hemisphere between April and October and, additionally, the Chilean industry has become a serious and reliable global supplier," he stated.
"As a result, we have to redouble efforts. Our goal, with these new volumes projected, is to continue delivering a high-quality walnut to our customers, and the way we grow it, harvest it, process it, and market it is key to achieve this.
"As such, this must be a joint effort from the whole chain: producers, processors, nurserymen, exporters, among others," stated Nicolas Di Cosmo. ■