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Losses of fruit producers tripled due to "agricultural catastrophe" in Chile

Due to the humidity caused by the rains and temperatures, rot and fungal damage has increased in Chilean fruit crops.

2/19/2021

Grapes affected by fungi due to humidity caused by the rains.

"The sector ran out of working capital, there is no way to meet the commitments of this season, nor how to start the next, as long as there is no specific financial aid package for producers, so we need a rescue of the fruit sector" , says the president of Fedefruta, Jorge Valenzuela, whose union is working to propose a guarantee fund for small fruit entrepreneurs.

"There are areas where fruit growing is stopped, there are no harvests or fruit packing, since we are in full season." This is what the president of Fedefruta Jorge Valenzuela says two weeks after the Agricultural Catastrophe, a time in which the damage of the rains in the crops has been exacerbated by an aggressive advance of rotting and fungal diseases in the fruit, due to low temperatures in February and high humidity in the fields. This, to date, has led to at least tripling the losses of producers, according to the union.

"The rains, in a first stage, caused damage to splitting, falling fruit, trees and grapevines, and this was quantified at 150 million dollars. But as the weeks have passed, the damage to the fruit has increased a lot," he says. Valenzuela. "The rot and fungi have advanced in such a way, due to the high humidity and the temperatures of the following days, that at this minute the table grapes are not being harvested in the central zone, they are not even being packed."

With the information that Fedefruta has gathered from meetings with directors and producers, it is projected that the loss in white table grapes will be between 70% and 80% of production, from the central zone to the south, and in red grapes, close to 30% of the harvests, "although that estimate remains to be seen, depending on how the climate continues to behave," says the president of the union. However, "all varieties are damaged, even later ones like Red Globe, Crimson and Autumn Royal."

The Aconcagua Valley, in the Valparaíso Region (Chile), already reports 42% less production due to this agricultural catastrophe, compared to the same period in 2020. While, in the O'Higgins Region, there is no certainty on how varieties such as Scarlotta, Crimson and Red Globe are going to be harvested, "and today it would be very optimistic to think that we will be able to harvest 30% or 40%", he considers.

Rescue

"The sector ran out of working capital, there is no way to meet the commitments of this season, nor how to start the next, as long as there is no specific financial aid package for producers, so we need a rescue of the fruit sector" . That is what Jorge Valenzuela concludes, whose union believes that support measures should be reinforced and extended to all fruit growers who report losses that their companies compromise.

"The measures are focused on very small producers, when there are also many affected people who are left out of any help," concludes the president of Fedefruta. "We are working to propose a Frutícola Fopage, with a relaxation of the requirements to qualify for the instrument, greater state guarantees such as endorsement, grace years, etc.".


 
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