Digital pilot study to aid blueberry productivity in Chilean central valley

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Digital pilot study to aid blueberry productivity in Chilean central valley

Chile has developed a digital tool to help increase the productivity of blueberry producers in the key growing area of the VII (Maule) region.

The program looks at climate, temperature, rainfall, soil, transport connections, storage facilities and even labor to help producers decide where is the best location for a blueberry farm.

Project leader Dr Rodrigo Cazanga, told that Maule was chosen for the study because despite producing the most blueberries in Chile its profits were declining.

"Currently we are building digital applications that enable producers, investors and even companies, to simulate what sectors are best suited to which variety or which sectors are already over exploited."

Researchers claim better information for decision making will improve productivity, quality, profitability and even minimize the environmental impact.

Agronomist Carlos Quezada, said with the correct transfer of technology the system could provide medium and long-term benefits.

"It is important that after the project is completed there is the continuity of support. Most of these projects fail when training is not adequate, since producers do not learn how the tools function. That's why the correct transfer is critical."

The first results of the pilot project comparing levels of productivity, profitability and quality of harvested varieties are expected in 2013.

"If the results are as we expect, we would love to replicate this tool in other varieties, but funding is a stumbling block," said Cazanga.

The iniative is a joint project between the government-backed CORFO organization created to further innovation and the Natural Resources Information Center (CIREN).

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