6 key issues in the Chilean food economy

Whenever Enviu enters a new market, we kick things off with an in-depth issue analysis. Over the last few months we’ve been conducting a deep dive into Chile’s market to properly understand the biggest obstacles to circular innovation and analyze which solutions are in demand.

Over the next months we’ll be sharing our findings and plans for the future on this website. To stay up to date and make sure you don’t miss a post, sign up here.

Right now, we’d like to share the 6 key issues we identified in Chile’s food and drink value chain.

1 – Small farmers don’t earn what they deserve 

About 80% of the farmers in the region are small scale. They have a key role in the national food security but at the same time many of them struggle with limited income. These farmers lack access to profitable markets and don’t have the capital needed to invest in sustainable agricultural practices. 

In some situations, the farmer only gets up to 10% of the retail value for their products. With Fresh, we want to radically shorten the chain to make sure farmers get the prices they deserve.

2 – Desertification – it’s getting worse

22% of Chilean territory is suffering the impact of desertification and 49% of the farmable land suffers from some degree of erosion. We need to preserve these natural areas as they are essential for the preservation of the ecosystem, natural life and cultural heritage. With our venture DesertSpring, we will cultivate and plant sea buckhorn to put degraded land in Chile to use and thereby creating opportunities for the local communities.

3 – Water scarcity is a growing issue.

With a dangerous 82% deficit in rain in northern regions, water scarcity is a major issue in Chile. Whilst the north of the country currently bears the brunt of the issue, trends show that water shortages will soon become a major problem in other regions of the country as well.

4 – 40% of food produced is wasted

The long value chain in agriculture generates a lot of waste, and the value of this waste is not properly realized. In some seasons up to 40% of production can be lost. Food loss has may reasons, including: products that don’t comply with export or supermarket standards, damages to products during transport, restaurants and consumers that bought more food than they needed. Our venture Freshdirectly linking farmers and consumers, is just one of the solutions we will be developing to address this issue.

5 – 8 million tons of plastic enter Chile’s oceans each year

Plastics are used to package almost everything, from fruits & vegetables to take-away food and drink. Almost half of these plastics are thrown away after a single use. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic waste enters Chilean oceans along its 4,300-kilometer long coastline. Enviu is already implementing solutions to enable reuse and eliminate single use plastics in Indonesia. Making use of this experience, we started to develop solutions for the Chilean food economy as well Reusable Packaging.

6 – Just up to 14% of waste is recycled

Waste management is critically underdeveloped. Of the annually generated waste from all sources, only up to 14% is finally recycled. There are sources that claim it is even a lot less. Waste collection and separation, particularly from domestic sources, is extremely limited. And it gets worse… only 8,5% of all plastic waste is being recycled with the majority going to landfills where it can easily leak into the environment. With our Fresh and Reusable Packaging projects we aim to both limit the amount of waste and establish a movement towards conscious consumption.

Want to know more about our issue analysis? Click the button below and download our summary!

Curious about our ambition and the solutions? Please look at https://restore.enviu.org/about-us/ & https://restore.enviu.org/projects/.

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