The project included the implementation of aquaculture infrastructure, sales and administration training, and the incorporation of a business model that will allow them to project themselves for the next ten years.
The initiative that sought to support the economic reactivation of the group of artisanal fishermen and divers of the Robalito de Corral union lasted nearly two years through the production of Japanese Oyster (Crassostrea gigas), a project that was financed with Innovation Funds for Competitiveness (FIC) of the Regional Government of Los Ríos and its Regional Council.
Among the main milestones of the project is the implementation of an infrastructure for the annual production of over 200,000 oysters in the current experimental concession that the union has. Likewise, work was done on the valorization of the product that today has a label and QR code (with a tutorial on how to open the oyster), along with the development of marketing models both nationally and locally, which have already been put into practice with retail sales and delivery systems in Corral and Valdivia.
“It is projected that this group of fishermen will produce a quantity of 960,000 Japanese oysters in a horizon of eight years, for which Chile Foundation is committed to supporting these groups to raise public and private funds for investment in infrastructure, working capital and, most importantly, the supply of oyster seeds”, emphasizes Daniel Arriagada, Head of Mollusk R&D at Fundación Chile. and director of the FIC project.
Sonia Hernández, representative of the Robalito de Corral Union, comments that the group is very grateful for the support provided by Fundación Chile (FCH) and the Los Ríos Regional Government.
“In this meeting we are showing our product, its quality, size, good flavor, the process that it has in the handling room with sanitary resolution and that it is also produced in certified waters, which gives it another important value for the client. We want to continue venturing and growing because there are many who have their eyes set on this project that Robalito developed, so that it can be replicated in other fishermen’s organizations”, highlights the leader.
For his part, the head of the Development and Industries Division of GORE Los Ríos, Miguel Ángel Martínez, assures that the work carried out responds to a short-term objective, which has to do with the economic reactivation of a productive sector, having an impact relevant not only in the productive nature of the initiative, but also in the quality and well-being of the people who are beneficiaries of the initiative or project.
“In the long term, by adding value to regional products, we believe that better margins, better productivity and efficiency indicators can be obtained to access markets that are increasingly demanding and sophisticated,” the professional points out.
Meanwhile, for Franco Cerda, director of the Tongoy Aquaculture Center (CAT) of FCH, the initiative was faithfully adjusted to the guidelines that the institution has defined for its aquaculture line at the national level.
“This is an activity with a high social impact, scalable and quickly implemented that, in addition to complying with these three axes, strategically defined by our institution, articulates all the business units and aquaculture platforms that we have designed for the APE; that is, with Cultivos Marinos Tongoy as the Japanese oyster seed producing unit, AquaPacificas a technological entity to support initiatives and, obviously, aquaculture management, through the activities that we develop in the CAT”, he explains.
According to what was stated at the closing ceremony, the knowledge acquired through the technology transfer carried out during the development of the FIC project will allow the Robalito de Corral union to scale oyster production thanks to the generation of resources and long-term profitability. .
“It was proven that the oyster market has potential because it has a target market that is clearer and more established every day and that different niches can be reached,” says the head of projects and technology transfer at the AquaPacific Aquaculture Innovation Center, Ximena Uribe, who adds that “within the project they were not only transferred in terms of productive knowledge, but also in how to reach the customer and how to reach the different points of sale that they may have and that can boost their business from where they are until, hopefully, international trade”.
Link with local products
The project closure activity made it possible to manage an alliance between local production companies, particularly between oyster farmers from the Robalito union and craft beer producers in the area. In this line, the event ended with a pairing of different beers and various ways of preparing the Japanese Oyster.
Emilio Becker, academic in Business Engineering at the University of San Sebastián and FIC director of Strengthening Business Node Management, highlights the opportunity that exists in the association between beers and oysters.
“With regard to this meeting, we did a test of what we had tested and that reinforces the idea that there are some beers that go very well with oysters. It is not necessary to drink wine or sparkling wine, but this option of craft beers is also opened, prepared by regional companies or companies from the southern zone,” he explains, adding that “it is valuable to have been able to demonstrate that linkage can indeed be made; remove the myth that drinking beer and eating shellfish is bad, and leaves us with a tremendous synergy with the Robalito Union, who, in addition to having oysters, also have other shellfish for sale”, emphasizes the academic.