Chilean walnut industry targets higher exports

Chilean walnut industry targets higher exports

The Chilean walnut industry has said that it hopes to grow sales in Asia and the Middle East as it looks to increase export levels.

Karl Samsing, president of the Chilean Walnut Commission, told just-food that, although Europe is the largest importer of Chilean walnuts, the industry is eyeing growth in China, Korea and Vietnam.

"Production in Chile will double in the next four to five years... because of Chilean production growth we are working very hard with the government to develop new markets. And that is where our effort is today. We are working specifically in Asia - in Korea, China and Vietnam - which are countries where Chile has not been present, but which have a good potential."

According to Samsing, these markets offer good growth prospects due to their size and scope for expansion. Chile received authorisation to start exporting walnuts to Korea this year and expects to get clearance to bring products into China's 60,000 metric tonne market within the next six months, he added.

Walnut exporters also hope to increase their sales to Middle Eastern markets, which they hope to access via Turkey, Samsing said today (16 November).

While the Chilean walnut industry is targeting growth in new markets, it also aims to maintain strong relationships with trading partners in Europe.

Samsing is part of a trade delegation travelling in Europe with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. Only three representatives from private enterprise have been invited to accompany the president and all of them come from the food sector: representatives of the walnut, prune and dried fruit industries.

According to Samsing, this reflects the importance the Chilean government attaches to growing food exports in general, and exports of dried food in particular.

"All together the sector is growing significantly and we will be reaching export total of US$1bn in the next years," Samsing predicted.