Kiwifruit industry development in Chile: evolution and projections

C. Cruzat, E. Köhler, M. Basualdo, L. Gómez
The development of the Chilean kiwifruit industry, as well as the kiwifruit industry globally, is facing important changes in world production scenarios: new drives in exporting countries, farmer’s difficulties in changing crops, new producing countries, introduction of new cultivars, the effects of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) and other pests and diseases, new trade barriers or changes in the requirements of local economies, as well as increases in good quality supply, along with new demands from consumers. Chile’s production ranges from north to south over more than 1000 km. While ‘Hayward’ represents the highest export volume, exports have fallen by approximately 16% between 2012 and 2015 seasons, from a historical high of 221,465 t to 175,448 t, along with important changes in export destinations. During 2009, the industry underwent voluntary organization, creating the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee, aimed at increasing and ensuring Chilean kiwifruit’s competitiveness and quality at destination markets. Primarily formed by producers and exporters, the Committee represents 80% of the industry through its organizations, the Asociación de Productores de Frutas de Chile, A.G. (ASOEX), and the Federación de Productores de Frutas de Chile, F.G. (FEDEFRUTA). The Committee has coordinated interests concerning government or other institutions and has become the industry’s international connection. The Committee is involved in developing technological research and dissemination programs, implementing orchard follow-up and quality and maturity assurance programs, contributing towards uniformity in Chilean fruit, enabling the characterization of different eco-zones where cultivation takes place, enabling understanding of their productive potentials, and maturity evolution based upon agroclimatic behavior, thus promoting best practices by producers. The Committee has developed phytosanitary protection programs, especially concerning Psa, present in Chile since 2010, characterizing agroclimatic risk areas more liable to onset of this disease. It has also driven research and knowledge generation on kiwifruit physiology, agroclimatic behavior, and protocols for fruit conditioning and ripening. It is part of a program for development of genetic improvement between Universidad de Chile and Udine, as well as joint development work with China. The future of the Chilean kiwifruit industry does not depend solely on the global scenario, since competition within Chile, towards investing in higher profit species, is a permanent threat to kiwifruit survival and expansion.
Cruzat, C., Köhler, E., Basualdo, M. and Gómez, L. (2018). Kiwifruit industry development in Chile: evolution and projections. Acta Hortic. 1218, 31-38
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1218.4
Chile, Chilean Kiwifruit Committee, Psa, agroclimatic zones

Acta Horticulturae