Chilean partner firmprunes is committed to consolidating existing markets and landing in Japan, says its commercial manager, Bruno Ceroni.
Since its inception in 2009 and with exceptions, Goodvalley – a partner company of Chileprunes – has grown evenly in the exported tons of dried plum around 12 to 15%, and the 2020/2021 season would be no exception, and could even reach 18%.
Indeed, this year the shipments were 5,500 tonnes, while by the 2021 harvest, the figure will range from 6,000 to 6,500 tonnes, says Bruno Ceroni, goodvalley’s commercial manager.
This year, at least, the issue of drought did not affect them too much in the Colchagua area. Nor has the pandemic – taking the respective health measures – been an obstacle to them, nor should the Chilean nut industry in general be added. Markets have been active in both Europe and Asia, areas to which Goodvalley allocates 60% and 40%, respectively of its dried plums.
Europeans, with lockdowns, have cooked more, and in those products they make at home, plum has an important space in various dishes and recipes, as well as being a snack that is eaten at all times.
Goodvalley exports dried plums to more than 25 countries worldwide, and Germany, Poland, Italy and Denmark predominate in Europe. In Asia the most relevant are China, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.
The company’s commitment to dehydrated plum is revealed in the construction of 20 drying tunnels – investment of US$ 2 million – which add up to another 30 furnaces, giving a total of 50 that will be available for the next harvest that occurs in the first half of 2021. It is a relevant investment that helps the quality of the product, its safety and traceability.
“We are currently the only company with 50 furnaces and a centralized process for all products,” says Ceroni.
In addition, it would become one of the requirements to enter the demanding Japanese market, which pays a significant price differential for the American plum, which performs these more technified processes, much more than what other Asian countries pay for plum from other destinations, the executive says.
Exporter and Processor Goodvalley has been making significant investments in recent years. By 2019 they had already done so by building 3,500 m2 of sheds.
This is how it is consolidated as one of the most relevant companies in the sector, with offices in Santiago, a plant in the area of Colchagua, VI Region, and a joint work with associated producers that in their entirety involve 600 hectares of plums. Despite the acquisition of drying ovens, and although it is not the focus of the business, chileprunes’ partner company 3 years ago is also engaged in fresh plum, giving a mix of business possibilities to its producers.
Bruno Ceroni points out that the Chilean industry, if not going through relevant climate events, has an export potential of 100 thousand tons of dried plums. In 2019, however, there were strong frosts that lowered production, and this year, although there was no great frost, the drought was relevant in certain sectors (Melipilla, Pirque, etc.) affecting the final number, in addition to being an excess of post-flowering heat. That will bring the production down to 75 thousand T, and if that adds up to the 15 to 20 thousand T that go to cool, the estimate is that next season will end at 55 to 60 thousand T.