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Chilean honey eyes China's market

10/26/2018 16:23

Terra Andes is the first Chilean honey brand to apply to China for export certification, and local experts saw it as a development that spells "goods news" for the country's producers as a whole.

Home to more than 1.3 billion people, China's consumer market is a potential goldmine for the productive and export sectors, they believed.

"The quality of our Chilean honey is very good, and we have noticed that in China, the public is very focused on that," said Juan Pablo Molina, founder of JPM Exports, Chile's leading exporter of honey in bulk, and owner of the Terra Andes brand.

Molina got into honey production some 33 years ago, during a trip to southern Chile that introduced him to beekeeping and its close connection to nature.

Today the company operates one of the most modern honey processing plants in Latin America.

"We have been working for four years towards being able to sell to China. We are now close to achieving that since we have been visited by Chinese sanitary officials that evaluate sanitary protocols," said Molina.

A Chinese delegation inspected the company's facility in Paine, a largely agricultural city near Chile's capital Santiago, in April 2017. Molina is hoping to get the sanitary permit by early 2019.

A few months ago, the company's executives traveled to China to meet with a handful of supermarket chains interested in selling their product. The idea is to ship about 4,000 tons of honey, bottled "at the source and with a variety of flavors."

Though the Terra Andes brand is relatively young, launched just a year ago, it has already received Chile's "Country Brand" seal designating a quality export product.

JPM Exports works with 600 beekeepers across Chile, from the northern city of La Serena to the Chiloe archipelago off the south-central coast, so it offers "a very extensive and representative sampling of different geographies," said the company.

Terra Andes exports to the United States and Canada, as well as Asia, including Thailand and Malaysia. Shipments to Japan and Singapore are also scheduled.

Sales to China "are a done deal," awaiting only the green light of sanitary officials, which marks the last step in the export certification process, said the company.

Statistics in 2017 showed Chile produced 9,000 tons of honey, 80 percent of it shipped abroad, mainly to the European Union, where Germany is the leading buyer.

Last year, Chile ranked 20th among the world's top honey exporters, a list that includes China, the United States and Argentina.

(Source: Xinhua)

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