Cristián Allendes

Fertile Soil, Fresh Fruit, and a Rich National History: ForwardFarming in Chile

We Chilenos supply food for the rest of the world, and the products that we export are a reflection of our country as a whole. In Chile, growing safe, healthy, delicious fruit is more than a priority: it is a point of national pride, and an attitude that I try to weave into the fabric of my farm every day.

I have been involved in fruit production for over 35 years, starting in 1982. At the beginning, I was employed as a fruit exporter before I decided to start my own business in 1995. We’ve been at La Hornilla – Fundo Santa Inés for about three years. It is one of several farms my family’s company manages, where we grow grapes, cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines for export, among other crops.

Fruit farming is exciting, dynamic, and different work, where I am in contact with the earth, the environment, and with my family, my employees and customers across the world. It is incredibly motivating to be a sustainable farmer responsible for producing rich foods that are enjoyed by the people who consume them.

As a farmer, and as a farm manager, I have the unique experience of creating something. Setting up and shaping an orchard from scratch and nurturing the land until it becomes a productive garden is perhaps the most rewarding thing about what I do. It is the kind of feeling that really pushes me to keep growing and pass on this motivation to my children. I thank God for having a job that motivates me to continue creating different things, where I get to think about what we are going to innovate and what new things are we going to try. Maybe it is something about the Chilean soil – I know other farmers who at 93 still think about what to plant and how to innovate!

Cristin Allendes
Cristin Allendes
Cristián Allendes,
farmer, La Hornilla – Fundo Santa Inés

Sustainability Fueled by Innovation

We decided to be part of the ForwardFarming initiative, and started collaborating with the Bayer Chile team, because at our company – Sociedad Agrícola La Hornilla – we have a vision of sustainability and a sense of responsibility to produce our fruit in the most healthy and natural way possible.

The other reason is that – both as a company and personally – we are fueled by innovation. We are always looking for a new product or a new piece of technology that we can incorporate into the farm to improve our production scope, to reduce costs, and to limit our ecological footprint. I want to build a sustainable company, and to do that, I need to build sustainable farms. Bayer ForwardFarming’s vision for sustainable, innovative farming aligned well with my vision for my family, for my company, and for Chilean agriculture.

Top Priorities: Health and Safety

Right now, La Hornilla is aiming to reduce expenses, be more efficient, and focus on what is important, while continuing to produce healthy fruit for the thousands – if not millions – of consumers who enjoy our produce. Health and safety is the number one priority for us -- the safety of our produce for the end consumers, but also the safety of my employees when they are working in the fields each day. Thanks to our collaboration with Bayer, workers at Santa Inés have received extensive training on the use of crop protection products, and how to best protect themselves and the environment while applying them in the fields.

We’ve invested in the use of electrostatic applicators, with the goal of lowering the volume of crop protection products we use while still maintaining coverage on our fruit and avoiding application drift. We have installed irrigation probes in order to be able to irrigate more efficiently and decrease water consumption. Along with the probes, we’ve also employed Bayer’s Phytobac® system, which allows for a safe and sustainable way of recycling wastewater.

Bayer ForwardFarming’s vision for sustainable, innovative farming aligned well with my vision for my family, for my company, and for Chilean agriculture.

Cristián Allendes, La Hornilla – Fundo Santa Inés

Hopes for Chilean Agriculture

I maintain that there are two ways for Chilean farmers to do well and be sustainable. The first is to produce high-quality products, and if we can achieve this on farms across Chile, then sales and income will rise, and those effects will be felt by everybody. The second is to implement the innovations we are making at Santa Inés farm (and later also in other farms of La Hornilla) and show them to other farmers to encourage them to also implement these innovations. If farmers throughout the country adopt safe, sustainable technology, that will allow us to continue to export some of the world’s best fruit.

This is what we aspire to here in Chile – to achieve better quality fruit, to be more efficient in our use of natural resources, and to increase productivity per hectare. When we sell fruit, we want people to identify us with a product that is natural and with the ForwardFarming initiative that Bayer has invited us to participate in. We are proud to be the first in Chile to implement this program, and we will continue to work towards our goal of exporting safe, healthy, and delicious fruit in a sustainable manner.

Learn more about ForwardFarming.

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