Chile: drought impacts Coquimbo fruit growers

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Chile: drought impacts Coquimbo fruit growers

Small farmers in Chile's IV (Coquimbo) region are considering selective watering and pruning of fruit trees after the country's reservoirs reached their lowest levels in 15 years at the start of this month, website reported.

So far Coquimbo's average rainfall deficit is at 90%, leaving more than 2,000 growers in a difficult situation.

Avocado producers in the region have been particularly badly affected by recent frosts as well, leading to a 20 point reduction in fruit size and what is projected to be a 30% drop in production.

Limarí-based avocado and grape grower José Miguel Zepeda, said as a conservation measure he had stopped cultivating 10% of the least productive part of his land.

"The situation is serious, and depending on the sector and the availability of water, we have to stop watering and poor irrigation is also producing an effect on sizes," Zepeda was quoted as saying.

El Palqui tomato and pepper grower Emilio Cortés, told the website he normally planted 10 in greenhouses each season.

"Now I'll opt to put in five or six, and I also lost half of my current production to frosts that burned plants on Jul.6-7. The situation is very difficult," Cortés was quoted as saying.

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