Today's International Study Tour got off to an early start with a visit to Lo Valledor Wholesale Market in Santiago. Similar to the Ontario Food Terminal, Lo Valledor trades about 90% of the fruits and vegetables in Chile, with daily transactions totalling over $5 million US dollars. The most unique product that is sold is dried seaweed.
We then travelled to the Pioneer Seeds Administrative Headquarters. Chile supplies most of the corn seed for the North American and European markets, all of it being processed and exported from this facility. They will harvest around 2,000 hectares of seed this year, which is down from 11,000 in the previous year. Both changes in the demand for seed and current inventory levels have contributed to the decrease in production.
After seeing the end result of fruit production, we capped off the day with a visit to a local fruit farm outside of Rancagua. Farm owner, Mr. Francisco Sahli discussed the basics of orchard fruit production, answering questions about the peach and cherry production that takes place on his farm. The group then had the opportunity to take photos with the oldest tree on the farm - a 32 year old cherry tree that is still bearing fruit today.
After an unfortunate incident that involved a cherry tree and a shattered bus window, members of our class put their leadership skills to work, jumping into action and coming up with a short term solution to having no glass in a window that allowed us to finish our day long travel to Rancagua. It involved a piece of tarp, some packing tape, a piece of bamboo stick and a little bit of creativity.
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