The Chilean Agri-business Impact Study also revealed that the meat sector has had significant growth from 1991 to 2020, going from almost no exports to 13% of total production, with almost 1.4 billion USD in exported value.
To measure the impact of Chile’s agro-industrial exports on its economy, the Undersecretariat for International Economic Affairs commissioned the Faculty of Agronomy of the Universidad Católica to conduct a “Chilean Agri-business Impact Study,” an in-depth analysis of the sector to assess three decades of policies and the evolution of the agri-business in terms of product, market, and producer diversification.
The study covered 16 sectors grouped in six macrosectors to make more global analyses that better assess their performance. The six macrosectors were: horticultural agribusiness, seafood, livestock, seeds, other agro-industrial products, and lastly, wine, spirits, and beverages.
The results revealed that the food agri-business exports (without fresh fruit) had an exponential growth between 1991 and 2020, with some sectors showing double-digit compound growth rates during the first two decades. Thus, the total export value of these macrosectors grew from 1.6 billion USD in 1991 to almost 12.8 billion USD in 2020, with a compound growth rate of 7% and 9% for the period from 1991 to 2000 and from 2001 to 2010, respectively. Meanwhile, in the last ten years growth has been lower and, in some cases, negative, which is partly explained by the maturity of these sectors and a stronger international competition.
If we add fresh fruit to these figures, we could say that in 2020 Chile exported more than 16.9 billion USD in food, which grew by 10% in 2021, exporting 18.5 billion USD. The food sector’s growth in Chile and its insertion in international markets is a clear example of the roadmap followed by Chile’s trade policy. Food exports have a leading spot in the total of Chilean exports, in some cases leading as worldwide suppliers or exporters, as is the case of some fruits, salmon, and wine.
In turn, the livestock macrosector –which groups meat, dairy, and beekeeping – has shown one of the highest growths in exported value and volume in the period between 1991 and 2020, but with slower growth than other macrosectors since the development curve begins at the end of the decade, mainly because of the need for health authorizations from destination countries.
In the meat subsector, growth figures show that pork takes the lead with 62% of exports in 2020, followed by poultry with 28%, beef with 7%, and mutton with 3%.
“Today, meat is the fourth largest food exporting sector in Chile and we have achieved this thanks to our yearslong efforts to produce food under high standards of safety, health, and biosecurity, in an industry that has also set out to be sustainable (…). This study also shows global consumption trends, with consumers increasingly demanding products with these attributes. In the white meat industry, we have made an effort to comply,” said ChileCarne’s President, Juan Carlos Dominguez.
Once the impact of agri-business exports was estimated, a forecast for the next decade was made. It was based on an analysis of the international context, new trends and demands in destination markets, and the Chilean agri-food industry’s preparedness. Globally, demand for food will continue to grow due to the expected increase in population and income level. The global food sector will need to feed 2 billion additional people by 2050, which is why trade will be crucial, as the largest food production will come from developing countries, including Latin America.
The full study can be reviewed at: