Representatives from four Ukrainian berry producers have returned from a week-long study tour to Chile organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) together with the Ukrainian Berries Association (UBA) as part of the EU4Business Ready to Trade project, funded by the European Union.
The main objective of the study tour, from 14-19 January, was to strengthen export competitiveness and knowledge of the EU market based on Chilean export experience.
Four Ukrainian SMEs (Family Garden LLC, Melen LLC, Vikoriia farm, and Razdolne LLC) specialised in the production of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, sweet cherries, as well as IQF services took part in the tour. Ukrainian Business Support Organisations were represented by UBA and the Association of gardeners, vine-growers and winemakers of Ukraine (Ukrsadvynprom).
It was a very intense six-day tour with numerous visits organised: from farm to farm, from packing house to IQF processor. Participants visited berries farms and processors in four regions of Chile: Santiago Metropolitan, Nuble, Maule, Araucania, where they were able to observe harvesting, packing and post-harvest processing (including IQF). Additionally, the Ukrainian berry exporters had an opportunity to meet the representatives of the Chilean Social Development Corporation of the Rural Sector (CODESSER), which provides agribusiness advisory services in lending, project management, export, education, recruitment and general management to Chilean farmers.
As a result, the participants discovered the secret of Chilean success in the global berries market. The key elements of this are the presence of dedicated specialists, strong emphasis on technology, and access to finance. All Ukrainian beneficiaries took home something important for their own business development: technology perks(worms-processed fertilizers, multi-level soil-and-plant control systems, mountain water usage,mechanical berry harvesting etc.), management approaches (field harvesting control points), or cooperation linkages along the value chain (farmer-processors, farmer-exporters).
The ITC said they believed the best practices experiences from the Chilean tour had added value to the Ukrainian berry sector development and would contribute one of the main objectives of the EU-funded project – to support and promote the development of the Ukrainian berry sector focusing on the EU market, to increase awareness of EU market requirements and capacity building for the Ukrainian berry exporters.
The Eastern Partnership: Ready to Trade project helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access new markets with a focus on the EU, helping SMEs identify and comply with quality and standards to meet international requirements, linking them with buyers along the value chain, and providing cluster support.