Sustainable hazelnut production of high value for the world
Ñefú is the name in Mapudungún of the Chilean hazelnut and its Gevuina (beautiful flower) tree, a native species known by the Mapuche people since pre-Hispanic times. Its high nutritional value and its increasing demand in the Chilean and foreign market have transformed it into another golden fruit of the region.
In addition to the Chilean hazelnut, the Barcelona hazelnuts (American origin), Tonda di Giffoni, and Tonda Gentile delle Langhe (both from Italian origin) are also cultivated in Los Ríos, the three of them demanded worldwide.
As today the offer of Chilean and introduced hazelnuts is sustained by collectors who get deep in the forests searching for fruits. There is an interest and need to domesticate the species and establish orchards to produce high quality hazelnuts and ensure to cover its increasing demand.
Unlike other fruits, hazelnut production has a lower complexity in terms of cultivation. Besides the hectare availability, these sites would be cultivated in soils free from toxic chemical agents (organic production) and with phytosanitary processes ensuring the compliance with sanitary requirements by foreign countries.
The main use of hazelnuts in the region of Los Ríos is as input for confectionary and chocolate industries.
Edaphic climax conditions of Los Ríos region enable the hazelnut supply throughout the year. Valdivian forest -free from contaminant agents –, the cold template climate and the presence of water sources generate the propitious scenario for hazelnut production preventing their exposure to frosts and droughts.
Geographical location of Los Ríos region allows the fresh hazelnut production between the months of July and December, the most demanding month worldwide. The foregoing is relevant, because Turkey –main producing and exporter country thereof carries out harvest only during the first weeks of October.
Unlike introduced hazelnuts, Chilean hazelnut provides important nutritional components for the human body thanks to the presence of vitamin A and E, phytosterols and fatty acids, among others. It is a product that also contributes to the development of cosmetology and phytotherapy industries, the reason that partly explains the demand increase around the world.
However, all varieties of hazelnuts produced by this region, offer important properties for health, particularly, nutritive:
Healing, especially in skin burns.
Regenerating effect of tissues. It provides cutaneous resistance and elasticity.
Natural sun filter