Chile to crack the UAE’s walnut market following COVID-19

Chile to crack the UAE’s walnut market following COVID-19

Chile is doubling its efforts to become the UAE’s exporter of choice regarding dried fruits, particularly walnuts,  with the launch of a new campaign to showcase the superior quality and ultimate health benefits the nut offers.

The popularity of Chilean walnuts has surged in recent years, with the country the leading exporter in the southern hemisphere, and now the second-largest exporter in the world behind Australia, exporting over 111 million tonnes in 2019.

In the UAE, the value of exported dry fruits from Chile increased by 75% from US$25 million in 2018 to US$43.8 million in 2019, primarily attributed to walnuts, which made up 76% of the total dried fruit exports to the UAE.

According to yield estimates based on the planted area and average performance, production in Chile is expected to increase to 163 million tonnes in 2021 and 200 million tonnes in 2024. Over 95% of all production is exported to 75 countries, with the Middle East accounting for 54% in 2019.

Carlos Salas, Trade Commissioner of Chile in Dubai, said: “Our new campaign has been developed to reinforce our reputation for producing the best walnuts in the world, a result of their superior quality due to the appearance, flavour, colour, pulp, and size.

“The UAE, and the wider GCC region, is an incredibly important market for Chilean walnut exporters. The melting pot of ethnicities and growing demand for sustainable and quality healthy foods as a result of COVID-19 means the region is ripe for exporters to reconnect with the country and underscore the attributes that make Chilean walnuts so popular.”

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, regular consumption of nuts was associated with longer life expectancy, and eating nuts was associated with a lower mortality rate from cardiovascular disease.

In a recent report by the World Health Organisation, they highlighted the importance of good nutrition for health, particularly when the immune system is vulnerable as a result of COVID-19, and the importance of eating foods with high nutritional values such as nuts, for their healthy, unsaturated fats.

“As the pandemic continues, a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, and quality sleep are integral factors to remaining fit and well. It has also been scientifically proven that adding tree nuts such as walnuts to your diet can help boost the immune system thanks to the various vitamins and minerals found within them. Quality walnuts from Chile substantially increase these benefits,” added Salas.

Ensuring the sustainable development of the walnut is the responsibility of Chilenut, the Chilean Trade Association of Walnut Growers and Exporters. They are responsible for strengthening best practices in production processes, promoting Chilean walnut growers and exporters’ technical soundness, pooling knowledge, and fostering the technological development of the industry.

Edmundo Valderrama, President of Chilenut, said: “Chilenut’s fundamental pursuit is to position Chilean walnuts as the best in the world, leaving a mark that guarantees their prestige and quality. The country’s geography makes us a phytosanitary island, ensuring unbeatable conditions when it comes to food safety and sustainable production.

“Thanks to our counter-seasonal production, we can supply fresh walnuts when the Northern Hemisphere can’t, further highlighting the importance of our nut production.”

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