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The Chilean kiwifruit industry, made up of growers, packers and exporters representing more than 85 percent of Chile's fresh kiwifruit exports, have joined forces and formed the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee. The new organization will address such important concerns as production, quality control and post-harvest practices in addition to fielding marketing and promotion programs.

Initial objectives include raising pre- and post-harvest standards, funding market potential research and confirming funding for aggressive market development promotions in selected high-opportunity international markets. The committee was formed with the assistance and support of the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, the Chilean Exporters Association and the Chilean Fruit Growers Federation.

"The need for unified action in the kiwi sector has long been recognized and is a tribute to the kiwi growers in Chile that they have achieved such strong collective agreement to move forward to achieve mutually agreed objectives," Ronald Bown, chairman of the Chilean Exporters Association, known as ASOEX said in an April 22 press release.

On a similar note, Rodrigo Echeverría, chairman of Fedefruta, the fruit growers federation, added in the release, "The kiwifruit industry has consistently grown throughout the past years, thus a call for action from the major kiwifruit growers and exporters will help to improve quality standards and the perception of Chilean kiwi in foreign markets."

The kiwi Ripeness Assurance Program has already been implemented and is now in its second season. Production manuals have been developed, and a global research project has been fielded. Input from this study will help guide the committee's future activities. All the above are having a powerful effect on joining together everyone involved in the kiwifruit industry.

The president of the new kiwifruit committee, Ricardo Gonzalez, said in the release, "The key objective for our committee is to increase Chilean kiwi's competitiveness in destination markets. We are working very hard to strive for a more reliable and consistent product in order to ensure a more satisfying experience for the end consumer."