Chile is currently the world’s leading exporter of prunes and now has the challenge of also becoming the Top 1 in Sustainability.
The producers and processors of prunes are advancing in the development of a sustainability standard, under the umbrella of the Association of Processors and Exporters of Prunes of Chile (Chileprunes), which groups 70% of exports of prunes.
Indeed, this work, supported by the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), an agency of the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, and led by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), develops and implements a sustainability standard for this agribusiness sector, with a broad validation of the different actors that make it up, within the framework of the Conscious Origin Chile program, coordinated by the Office of Agrarian Studies and Policies, Odepa.
This process should last about two and a half years until it achieves the sustainable seal “Chile Origin Conscious” from the Ministry of Agriculture. The milk, poultry and pork sectors already have this seal, so the prunes industry is at the forefront of sustainability.
“In this way, we express the genuine interest that the prunes sector in Chile has in sustainability, a process in which we will identify gaps and aspects in which we need to advance, carrying out a participatory process that incorporates various actors in the chain, from the field to the table of the final consumer, from the farmer and producer, to the suppliers, exporters and clients”, says Pedro Acuña, executive director of Chileprunes.
IICA’s agricultural extension specialist and deputy coordinator of the project, Fernando Barrera, adds that all sectors of the economy are becoming increasingly interested in improving their performance in the field of sustainability. The view today is broader and the new sustainability standards not only involve environmental matters, but also incorporate the relationship of companies with the community, business ethics and the economic sustainability of the agricultural business.
“This project is a public-private commitment that seeks to address the issue of sustainability in a forceful way, and what we are doing with prunes is an example to develop for the entire agro-export industry in Chile,” express.
The programming of this initiative contemplates in the first year of work a series of activities that will lead to the definition of a standard for the prunes sector validated nationally and internationally. Among them, the most relevant are the mapping of stakeholders, preparation of a sector diagnosis and a benchmark of standards worldwide.
As of the second year, the stages of implementation, audit and certification of the standard will be developed in the companies of the sector. Both partners and suppliers of Chileprunes will have support and training in the certification process.
This is how Chile, the world’s leading exporter of prunes, reaching a total of US$75 million in shipments this first half of 2022, has the challenge of also becoming the Top 1 in Sustainability.