The heaviest rains in April for 65 years have taken their toll on Chilean walnut farmers, who are set for a season of lower volume and inferior quality in crops harvested after the event.
In a release, the Chilean Walnut Commission said the amount of rain was 1,900% higher than in a normal year, with expectations the event will spark losses of US$100 million.
"These rains were a real natural catastrophe for our industry," said the commission's executive president Andrés Rodríguez.
The estimate is based on surveys conducted by the group, which has forecast a 19% drop in volume and highlighted 40% of walnuts harvested after the rain will have their quality affected.
"This is a tremendous backward step for an industry that was on the rise, and which now will have to face a loss of US$100 million, which represents more than a quarter of our annual revenue," Rodríguez said.
"We call on the State to take stock of the magnitude of this disaster and support growers and exporters to endure this critical situation."
The executive clarified that of the 65,000 metric tons (MT) of walnuts produced, the pre-rain harvests were practically 100% sold.
"To date, there will only be 37,500MT of post-rain harvested walnuts, but their quality will be heavily affected. It's fundamental to understand that we are facing a natural disaster that dramatically affected the national supply," he said.
"As much as Chile would want to, it will not be able to comply with its promises to destination markets that were made previously, because of the heavy deterioration of the quality of post-rain walnuts."