AGRO.- (fruit portal).- For prunes, this season has been sweet and graceful. The sweet – literally – is reflected in larger prunes, higher sugar content and ultimately an excellent fruit quality. The aggrievance is reflected in a drop in overall volumes exported at the industry level.
In the case of Onizzo, a company belonging to Chileprunes, the reduction has been equivalent to 15% less compared to 2019.
This, together with the operational difficulties of the state of emergency they have faced, said Agustín Marín, general manager of Onizzo.
With an office in Providencia and a plant in Paine, Onizzo has established itself in recent years as one of the leading exporters of prunes in Chile.
Indeed, with a production of 2,750 metric tons, this company exports to five continents and about 30 countries, with its main destinations being Poland, Mexico, Russia, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
After the first 7 months of the year, what would be the balance of the 2020 season for Onizzo?
Generally speaking, it has been a difficult season, from least to far as pandemic problems in target markets have been overcome. We’ve been working with farmers for years to get more caliber and I think this has been achieved. Our focus has been on placing the big fruit.
At the company level, and related to the Covid-19, at Onizzo we have implemented the appropriate measures that have allowed us to operate almost in complete normality. We have not reduced any jobs or lowered wages. I hope we can stay in this condition and contribute with our grain of sand if conditions permit.
How have international markets moved this 2020?
The market has been restless, it is still restless and the expectation of events. Customers are seen shutting down short-term demand and something in the medium term. The logistics of shipments have been difficult, given the current conditions. Now, Chile’s production declined this year, along with lower link stock, and although prices have improved, with an upward trend, this lower supply has not resulted in an increase as we would have expected. The French offer, with high stock of large fruit, has played against us.
What happened to the calibers?
The market has been strongly demanding small and medium calibers that we have failed to cover, so we must rethly the production strategy with our farmers. I think the industry is long in large calibers, and cuts in medium and small calibers… one of the challenges is to work to strike the balance between supply and demand.
Is the relative return to normalcy in Europe playing any relevant role for prunes?
We have been seeing greater peace of mind in our European customers, but they remain cautious in their demand.
And how has China presented as a market?
In our case, it is not relevant, since they mainly demand fruit in the natural state, which is not our focus. However, with respect to other Asian markets, we are certainly “at the should” as is the case in Japan, India and Southeast Asia.
What trend have you seen about your consumption of prunes?
We have seen a static consumption trend in recent years. Therefore, with the aim of expanding the idea that has existed for years – a product suitable for digestion and associated with older adults – through the channels industry, pastry, chocolate shop, cuisine, snack, among others, as an industry we are making efforts to link prunes to youth, with a healthy and sports life, given its excellent nutritional characteristics. That’s where the road goes…
How has the domestic market been presented?
Every day we observe a greater presence of the product in the supermarket shelves. It has improved its presentation and increased its consumption.
With regard to the recession in Chile, how do you see that it is the agricultural and the company in particular?
Agro is going to be one of the industries that throws away the car. Demand for food products is going to continue locally and internationally, and people are going to continue to consume and we’re processing and exporting. Let us hope that public policies do not alter the normal functioning of this industry. If there are normal conditions, our company, immersed in this industry, will continue to grow
Any additional point in the company that we could mention? Investments?
We have acquired a property in Paine of approximately 7 hectares that will allow us to develop our agribusiness projects in the medium and long term. Suddenly, we have installed the prunes calibration. We will continue to implement and develop the tools that allow us to grow and deliver the best products to our customers worldwide.