In 2003, pecan producers -seeking for an opportunity to work in collaboration– joined efforts to share knowledge and experience, aiming at improving quality and increasing exports.
After twelve years of collaborative work, in 2016, producers decided to move forward and formed the Argentine Chamber of Pecan Producers (CAPP, for its Spanish acronym), an entity having national legal personality, formed by 120 producers.
Over the past six years, CAPP has promoted and made group exports. At present, 40 countries are being evaluated as potential export markets by 2020-2030.
The genetic material of plants comes from the Germplasm Bank of INTA ProPecan, a government entity which owns 36 cultivars. Most of these come, in turn, from the Pecan Breeding and Genetics Program developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
Commercial production develops from the grafted varieties officially registered with the Argentine Seed Institute (INASE, for its Spanish acronym)
The Argentine Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA, for its Spanish acronym) is a decentralized public entity created in 1956, devoted to spreading knowledge and developing technologies for producers to realize their full potential.
Its role in pecan production consists in researching and disseminating documents on this crop.
Nature, water and soil quality, and the work of specialized personnel have created a competitive agribusiness, where producers, suppliers and service providers, processing companies and exporters contributing all to the continual improvement of pecan production form a sustainable value chain.
As for good agricultural practices (GAP), the Argentine legal framework includes three resolutions issued by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGPyA, for its Spanish acronym) and the Argentine Agrifood Quality and Safety Service (SENASA), which establish requirements related to personnel training and the documentation necessary for the entire production process.
Our priority is to deploy optimal technologies for the development of pecans and train specialized personnel in pecan nut growing.
These include water quality analysis, plant health care, pest control, spraying, pruning, drip irrigation or micro-sprinkling, fertilization and fertigation techniques, mechanical harvesting, logistics, and fruit drying and conditioning, among others.
Safety and quality standards are issued by SENASA, the Argentine entity in charge of controlling all pecan-related production activities through Regulation No. 446/4.
The regulatory framework applicable in Argentina follows the rules in force in the United States and Mexico and apply the same nut weight and size category standards.
Freelance agricultural engineers –licensed as inspectors– conduct a strict quality control of each member’s crops. In-situ samples are obtained; each sample bag is then tagged with a number, and each variety is identified with a color. The inspector also takes counter samples for quality analysis purposes. CAPP authorizes a producer to deliver the output to the warehouse for shipment to the destination country only after a certificate approved by the professional has been issued.
The categories by nut count per kilogram, under the SENASA regulations, are as follows:
The sorting machine sorts nuts based on nut diameter.
Argentine meets all conditions to export in-shell and shelled certified varieties of pecan nuts. The INTA is developing a DNA-based identification and traceability system known as pecan biocoding.
Some of the commercial destinations of Argentine pecans are Algeria, the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Vietnam, Uruguay and Germany.
Six years of exports to different destinations have given us foreign trade expertise. Today, we are the largest pecan exporters in Argentina.
In 2017, 250 tons were exported for an amount of USD 1,500,000. In 2018, we expect to sell 500 tons, in 2019 1.000 tons of pecans. The volume harvested represents only 14% of all plantations, since the remaining 86% of the trees is not yet 10 years of age.
CAPP is mainly focused on exporting. We have recently begun participating in international food exhibitions and evaluating the market in several countries. Indeed, our directors and technicians have received training in international trade negotiation.
The Argentine Government supports us through globally renowned technical organizations such as ProPecan, SENASA, INTA, the Federal Council of Dried Fruits and Nuts, and the Argentine Department of Agro-Industry.