The Chilean walnut industry has started 2017 with a major milestone. The Chilean Walnut Commission (ChWC), an association that groups the walnut export industry, and ChileNut, predominantly made up by producers, have decided to work on a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) that will allow them to face the main challenges of the industry. 90% of Chile’s walnut growers and 80% of exporters are now represented under this agreement.
One of the main objectives entrusted to Karl Samsing (Chilean Walnut Commission) and Álvaro Jiménez (Chile Nut) is to standardize criteria between both associations and join forces to tackle the main challenges. Once a long-standing desire in the industry, now both groups have reached a historic Joint Operating Agreement.
All of the above mainly means that both associations will be joining forces in a Joint Operating Agreement, organized through a council that brings together both trade groups in order to coordinate this common effort. This new organization will be integrating the exporters from both associations into a single board, allowing for a better coordination of market strategies, information and promotional activities. A second board will be made up of all the individual growers and agriculture companies associated to exporters in order to cluster Chile’s major walnut production.
“With over forty thousand planted hectares of walnuts, we are the second largest fruit plantation in the country after table grapes. Our size, along with the new challenges posed by international markets, demanded that we come together in terms of how to face the future regarding technical aspects, how to face our national authorities, market intelligence, among other aspects”, said ChileNut chairman Álvaro Jiménez.
ChWC chairman, Karl Samsing, adds that it was time for a joint effort to position Chilean walnuts in international markets under a single 3 to 5 year campaign. “In order to do so, we will look for funding to promote our product, mainly from public and private contributions (exporters and growers). “We want to highlight the outstanding features of our walnuts internationally, with higher quality, colour and taste”, adds the chairman.
All stakeholders have to work in a coordinated way
Jiménez states that given the volume and market penetration that will come with a larger Chilean supply of walnuts, it is very important to take care of current and future markets. In order to achieve this, all stakeholders have to work in a coordinated way.
The walnut industry in Chile has been one of the most dynamic agricultural sectors over the past five years, experiencing notable growth in terms of planted area, consequently leading to more volume produced and exported. All of this has led to the following results: In 2016, the plantations concentrated between the V and VIII region have surpassed 42,000 hectares (26,000 in 2011); harvested tonnage reached 75,000 t (37,000 in 2011) and walnut shipments rank Chile as the world’s second largest exporter, and number one in the southern hemisphere.
Regarding the future, Karl Samsing is estimating that the 2017 harvest will reach 95,000 t, reaching 166,000 by 2021. “This is another reason for us to unite and worry about the entire chain, instead of approaching this in a fragmented way. Anticipating the future is the right way to act in order to consolidate our industry long term”. The conditions, the Commission’s chairman said, have been excellent. During winter the trees have got enough chilling hours and in Spring no major hailstorms were registered.