Intermezzo in central Chile.
Moving out of Santiago capital. The organisation created space and time for the visitors. That way we get acquainted to one another in the hotel lobby. Some of us ventured into the Santiago nightlife, but most of us were still too exhausted from the long trip. The sunday morning bus ride to the coast of Chile gave us a mixed view. Pretty arid areas sometimes overtaken by lush green hills, we cannot define a clear type of climate or vegetation here. But it is colourful and attractive. Take a look at this view from our hotel in Vina del Mar and the rough waves from the Pacific Ocean. Impressive!
With our good friends from Dhaka, Delhi and Tokio we just enjoy the beach for a while and discuss what we expect from the meetings with Chilean producers the following day. Again, we realize how lucky we are to be part of this, what an unforgettable adventure this is already!
Back to business in Vina del Mar.
The main event during this trip was the meeting with the Chilean producers. Or let's call it the most valuable part of this business trip for the Chilean export department! We get our own table with a few extra chairs to receive producers we have accepted or requested to meet before arrival. We get to hold, taste and evaluate Chilean products on the spot. We get start-ups and settled organizations and companies at our table and we get all kinds of products. Most represented are the berries (Maqui, raspberry, blueberry, açai), in dried small pieces or powders. They are all very tasteful. Some of them already found their way to Europe in the form of superfoods. We also taste great chili paste, chili and avocado oil, avocado snacks, Palo negro herbs, herbal teas and desert salt. But what about the story?
As requested, I didn't get to see too much big settled companies, but rather family holdings and farmers' groups trying to connect to external markets with their product. The good point is that we can give to some extent a first advise on what is already on the market or what would be interesting to explore for the market. Additionally, Adya is not merely connecting a product, it will first of all balance the social background and effects the production offers. Asking about that, we get to know about the indigenous Mapuche people who are integrated in some production areas. We also hear about the progress in organic farming or even the non-existing use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. This is all very good to get a first basic view on Chile.
Adya's map of Chile and its production was drawn that sunny monday in Vina del Mar. It is now up to us to reward the efforts of the producers and at least advise them further in their way to the market in Europe or possibly connect their product directly and share with the public their story.
This was an intensive but very rewarding day with dedicated Chilean professionals before me. Seeing our Asian, European and North-American colleagues busy as well, I can only hope that the presentations will lead to success for Chilean producers in the way they expect it to work out. They have the full support from the Chilean government, as Ms. Presidente Michele Bachelet made clear during the final speeches. This country is proud to present itself, that's obvious now. And they are right to do so!
One more day ahead, the field trip in small groups to organic producers! On our way to experience biodiversity, yes!
Looking back to this day, I forgot to ask for the prickle pear (cactus fruit), maybe it's not exportable or maybe we should just enjoy it here in Chile.