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  • Chile expects to have some 22,000 hectares of hazelnut at the end of this decade

    May 6th, 2015

    Jaime Armengolli, president of Agricultural La Campana, stated in the sixth version of ExpoNut, which was organized by Chilenut and held on Tuesday April 28 in CasaPiedra, that European hazelnut in Chile could well be called an industry nowadays as the country had 15,000 hectares planted. He also stated that Chile's harvest amounted to 12,500 tons in 2014 and expectations were that this current harvest would amount to more than 15,000 tons. The annual growth stood at 1,000 hectares and expectations are that by 2020 the country will have 22,000 hectares; in the year 2000 the country only had 2,000 hectares planted.

    The two regions leading the rise of hazelnuts in Chile are the Maule region, which has approximately 5,000 hectares, and the Araucanía region, with 7,000 hectares. The Biobio sector, however, has great growth potential. "In fact, 500 hectares will be planted at once at the height of San Carlos," said Armengolli, which will increase the area planted with this nut in Region VIII by 100%. He noted that research was the basis for the future development of European hazelnut through new varieties; however, he said, "the market has to validate the quality of these varieties, as there are large lots available for purchase and to make a minimum production to see how it actually behaves over time." He said this had already been achieved with the Barcelona varieties, originally from France, and the Tonda Giffoni variety, which were tested by the industry and business leaders. "This doesn't mean we won't continue developing and researching new varieties, even though they can not be validated in a short time," he said.

    The opportunities that Chile has regarding hazelnut are sustained in the 5% annual growth in demand for this fruit, not only of walnuts, almonds or pistachios, thanks to the integration of countries that are purchasing products based on hazelnuts. "The other point that favours us is that the production per hectare in other countries has stopped for different reasons, such as in Spain where they are uprooting their orchards to plant the varieties demanded by the market," he said.

    "What we need to do is to continue planting to position Chile as the third largest supplier of hazelnut. If we get to 45,000 tons, which is not far away, we will surpass Spain," he said. Turkey is the leader in production (650,000 tons), followed by Italy (120-180000 tons). Georgia and Azerbaijan are reporting a joint production of 80,000 tons. He also spoke about the need for research and development to improve crops. "We, in the Maule region, haven't done anything, because the hazel there is much better than in Araucanía, where they must face long winters and rainy climates. We need to do research and development in accordance with the reality of the Region VII. "

    Source: Fedefruta