The Chilean Ministry of Agriculture is currently seeking a systems approach for Chilean grape exports which would allow for the export of fumigation-free grapes to the US. This is currently under review by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The approach would help improve market access from Atacama, Coquimbo and Valparaiso (top grape exporting regions). The aim is to alter the current fumigation requirements, a preventative pest control process used to stop the spread of Grapevine Moth (an agricultural pest which poses a high risk to the fruit if it contaminates). Currently, the process required reduces the quality and shelf life of the fruit, which results in lower prices from retailers and reduced competitiveness on the export market.
The systems approach (if approved) will remove the requirement to use methyl bromide (MB) fumigation, and consequently improve overall quality and shelf-life of Chilean grapes. The risks will be managed offshore, in Chile, under the oversight of personnel from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This process will be implemented to ensure that the fruit continues to comply with fruit safety regulations.
According to market participants, progress is underway to authorise the systems approach, with reports of progress being made at an Atacama-based inspection site. Additionally, representatives from a number of grape associations (including APECO, ASOEX) have visited existing facilities in Chile which are expected to be refurbished and used to carry out quality control work, in compliance with the new protocol.
Meanwhile, the price of Chilean grapes rose by 1.9% week-on-week (w-o-w) to CLP 750.1/Kg on the week of the 29th of June 2022 in line with historical trends. Prices are expected to continue rising in line with higher seasonal demand, which typically peaks in October.