1.- In simple words, how would you explain the Chile Conscious Origin Program to the public?

This is an initiative led by the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa) of the Ministry of Agriculture that promotes the implementation of good practices in the agri-food sector through the design of sectoral sustainability standards, which include elements of quality and safety, relations with local communities, working conditions and social protection, animal welfare, water resources, soil resources, GHG emissions, waste management, biodiversity and economic management, respectively. The implementation of these standards is accredited through the award of the Chile Conscious Origin distinction, which highlights the sector’s commitment to the challenges of sustainable development.

Through the program, companies and farmers are offered a methodology to incorporate sustainability into their productive reality, with a scheme that allows them to verify their compliance through self-evaluations and independent audits in a logic of management, transparency and continuous improvement to produce healthier, safer and more sustainable food, which contributes to the care and development of their workers and the community in general.

2.- The export of frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) to the USA, Canada and Australia had an excellent performance in 2022 Do you think that the Sustainability Standard, currently under development, will be able to boost the export of dried plums along the same lines by 2025?

Although the main objective of this certificate is not to promote exports, it does seek to incorporate attributes that are valued in destination markets and that are in line with consumer trends and demands. In this sense, we believe that certifications can add value to export products.

3.- If we assume that international markets prefer products with seals of sustainable production, or with certifications along these lines, is it correct to state that incorporating sustainability into production processes opens more doors to the international agricultural food market?

Consumers are increasingly demanding in terms of quality and certain segments place a higher value on products that come from chains that are socially and environmentally responsible, and it is precisely these elements that are sought to be accredited through the Chile Conscious Origin distinction. However, the level of harmonization of standards with the requirements of international markets will depend on the level of depth addressed through its actions.

4.- ODEPA has always encouraged citizen participation in its management and action processes. What do you think of the dynamics of participatory interaction proposed by the project’s executing team in its technical meetings?

Trade associations are essential when it comes to advancing sectoral sustainability, as the challenges involved in these matters are becoming increasingly complex. In this sense, as an institution we have considered approaches associated with just transition, where we recognize the importance of generating spaces for dialogue to co-construct actions that balance economic, environmental and social development. Thus, the technical meetings promoted by the union have been essential to bring to the table points of convergence among the various stakeholders, since we recognize that progress in sustainability must go hand in hand with coordinated and articulated work with the private sector.

5.- What are the best practices usually included in the standards subscribed so far to the Chile Origen Consciente program?

As mentioned in question 1, in the development of the standards we have considered actions that include elements of quality and safety, relationship with local communities, working conditions and social protection, animal welfare, water resources, soil resources, GHG emissions, waste management, biodiversity and economic management, to mention a few. However, their approach and the level of deepening will depend on the gaps in each sector and the requirements of the target markets.

6.- The Program seeks to improve competitiveness among agroindustrial producers: What happens with smaller producers who do not know sustainability well or do not know how to implement it?

One of the aspects highlighted by the Chile Origen Consciente initiative has to do with the importance of generating public-private alliances to advance in sustainability. In this sense, it is very important to carry out an adequate gap diagnosis so that the actions generated with their union representatives can effectively advance in the strengthening of capacities, through the articulation of actors to generate enabling conditions, in order to gradually advance in the implementation of the actions contained in the sustainability standards.

7.- What is the benefit that companies subscribed to Chile Origen Consciente obtain in relation to their visibility in international markets?

The Chile Origen Consciente distinction recognizes the efforts of the sector’s stakeholders to advance in sustainability beyond the merely normative. The challenge today is to generate efficient and profitable production processes, but also to ensure that these processes are environmentally friendly and socially respectful. Currently, sustainability efforts must be demonstrated and certifiable, both to enter new markets and reach consumers who are increasingly aware and, consequently, more demanding, and to contribute to the positioning of the country’s image in food production.

8.- What message would you send to small farmers who aspire to grow, improve and update their production processes?

That they become part of these initiatives and jointly seek to support each other in these transition processes, which, beyond the potential benefits in the markets, will allow them to be more resilient and better able to face and adapt to the challenges facing their activities.


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