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PMA Broadens Reach In Chile

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, May 15, 2007

On May 15, at 9:00am at the Sheraton Hotel (the hip spot in town for this type of event) in Santiago, Chile, the Produce Marketing Association will be holding a seminar. About 130 industry members are confirmed for attendance and the keynote speaker will be Thomas Reardon, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics at Michigan State.

Dr. Reardon will draw on new research he has recently conducted to speak on the subject of “Supermarkets: Opportunities and Challenges for Chilean Fruit in Emerging Economies.”

The Giumarra Companies, as well as Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, serve as the General First Level Sponsors for the event.

An Honor Roll of Second Level Sponsors consists of Araya y Cia, ARS Corredores de Seguros, Cartones san Fernando, Fruittoday Euromagazine, The Packer and Wenco. In addition, PMA donated a sponsonsorship to the local 5-a-Day program, 5 al Dia (surmedia), in order to help build up the local program.

In addition the program received a wide range of endorsements from important “seal of approval” type national institutions. They are referred to as Patrocinadores:

  • Prochile (A Public/private organization supporting Chilean exports and the enhancement of Chile’s image around the world.)
  • ASOEX (Chilean Exporters Association)
  • FEDEFRUTA (Chilean Growers Association)
  • ASACH (Chilean National Supermarket Association)

This particular event is an outgrowth of many things. First, decades of strategic planning that led PMA to seek to build connections throughout the world. Second, a unique driver in the form of Nancy Tucker, PMA’s Vice President For Global Business Development, whose methodical commitment to building PMA’s international focus has been simply crucial.

We did a Q&A with Nancy in Pundit sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS, that you can see right here.

Most recently, PMA has been expanding its network of international representatives as it explained in an announcement:

PMA OPENS NEW OFFICE IN CHILE
The organization’s third branch office abroad

As part of the expansion plan of Produce Marketing Association (PMA), and after the recent opening of branches in Australia and México, PMA is proud to announce the launching of its Chilean office.

This new branch aims at increasing the number of members of the whole-supply chain and to add value to the Produce and Floral export industry throughout all markets.

The prestigious PMA will now be operating in Chile through Yentzen Consulting. This company will also work the Peruvian market.

Chile thus becomes the third foreign branch of the PMA, after the recent establishment of offices in Australia and México. This South American country plays a significant role in the North American market. Indeed, almost 40% of the fresh fruit exported from Chile are sent to the US.

As per Nancy Tucker, Vice President of PMA, “Chile is located in a strategic place in the Southern Cone region. It has such advantages as political and economical stability, a solid export industry, reliable growth projections, good weather, technology applied to processing, and superb fruit, vegetable and flower production. All these key factors have determined the choice of the new branch”.

PMA’s office in Chile is headed up by Gustavo Yentzen. He is universally recognized as a good guy, is smart and knows the industry and so, quickly, has gotten activities such as this seminar running.

In the scale of an organization such as PMA, it is a small event, but its importance should not be underestimated as the very future of produce trade associations in the United States may hinge on the question of how such events and the people who attend them could or should be reconciled to the Washington-oriented needs of an association driven by government relations.

With one of the major issues confronting the industry being how our national trade associations should be positioned and, particularly, if PMA and United Fresh ought to merge, we see the conflict in a nutshell.

PMA is doing this event in Chile to build up its Chilean membership base, to boost Chilean attendance at its convention and other events and, more broadly, to build a network of involvement between PMA and the Chilean industry. It has similar efforts ongoing in Australia and in Mexico.

Yet why should an Ohio grower who pays dues to a national association to gain representation in Washington want to fund these types of efforts? And why should a Chilean producer want to be a member of an association that is focused on U.S. legislative initiatives?

PMA’s effort in Chile is part of a broader recognition that trade has become global, that consolidation in the U.S. compels us to seek out more industry participants and that there is real value in both learning and networking to come from being a member of the association.

How do we, as an industry, organize our affairs so that we can take advantage of all this, yet still handle necessary domestic tasks such as lobbying Congress? On this question much depends.

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