“My fruit”. This is the name of the successful undertaking that eight years ago brought together 28 table grape producers from the Aconcagua Valley, INDAP users, from the communes of San Esteban and Santa María, in the province of Los Andes, to carry out a project that today allows them to export raisins to England, Germany and Italy.
But, in order to conquer European palates, these small farmers had to overcome a series of obstacles, such as being able to establish themselves as a company and meet all the quality standards demanded by the market. </ p>
Cristian Lepe, member of the company and manager of MIFRUTACHILE S.A., comments that “everything was born with an Innova Corfo project. They had a request from a Fair Trade client from England who needed raisins, it was a novel project to develop in Chile and it fit the theme of innovation. So they contacted all of us through INDAP and between both institutions they were helping us to manage this and to associate the producers ”.
To buy material and pay for the services necessary to ensure the quality of the fruit, they had to request loans from private banks and INDAP. In a few weeks they were already exporting 200 thousand kilos of raisins to Europe, which was the first impulse of these producers and the beginning of a promising company.
“We had few resources to set up as a company, at first it cost us. We had the production capacity, the price was good and everyone was enthusiastic about producing more or leaving products for raisins and not for fresh, and we did all the kilos they asked for. Since then we have not stopped exporting ”, says Lepe.
SUPPORT OF INDAP
This farmer recognizes that INDAP’s support from the beginning has been very important, “Producers were trained with specialized advice and applied for investment projects to buy materials, agricultural machinery and improve the wineries, because we needed to comply with the Global Gaps certification system that requires improvement in infrastructure, among other things. ”
Guillermo Nieto from the El Higueral sector in San Esteban, another member of Mi Fruta, says that all this allowed him to improve his quality of life and give his children a good education: “We have We were able to get better prices, before we had to sell too cheaply and now we have the possibility of directly exporting raisins with the group and those are more pesos than they serve a lot. With this item we have managed to carry out the children’s studies together with my wife. ”
Currently these entrepreneurs from San Esteban and Santa María export their production to England, their main client, with 120 thousand kilos last season, to Germany with 20 thousand kilos and to Italy with 8 thousand kilos, figures that they hope to repeat this season. They also export 95 thousand kilos of fresh grapes to England and 3,200 kilos to the United States.
Added to this is the local sale, with the production they have left, that which they commercialize with Chilean exporters and a little for national consumption.
The main grape varieties that these producers work with are Flame, Thompson and Inia Grape One, the latter 100 percent made in Chile and which brings together five producers from Mi Fruta under the umbrella of the Associative development project (PROFO) financed by Corfo and intermediated by Fedefruta.
For the regional director of INDAP, Marcelo Herrera, “this initiative deserves to be highlighted. They are a society of small farmers who have managed to reach international markets with their production. It is an experience that as the Ministry of Agriculture through INDAP we would like to replicate in Peasant Family Agriculture and that shows that with effort and organization, projects like this can be implemented. The exporter also has the Global Gap certification that works with fair trade and that allows customers to be willing to pay a surcharge thinking of social support for the family behind the product. ”
LINK NEWS: elandino.cl