Chile: winter weather leaves avocado production on watch

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Chile: winter weather leaves avocado production on watch

The possibility of inclement weather and the loss of product is the name of the game for farmers facing winter weather. Chilean Hass Avocado Committee president Adolfo Ochagavía spoke with on facing adverse conditions and the effect of paltas_21442027recent freezes on the avocado industry.

"We were finishing our harvest estimation process and the freezes came at the beginning of last week," Ochagavía said.

"With respect to production this season, excluding the effect of the freezes, volume could range between 200,000 and 215,000 tons.

"The same as last season, we hope the internal and export markets have significant demand. Fruit quality looks good, with slightly better quality than last season."

Regarding the effect of recent freezes on production, Ochagavía said it was still too early to know the full impact. More details are expected over the coming weeks.

"The freezes from early last week have affected different geographical zones distinctly. In general, to really appreciate the effect, you have to wait a couple of weeks to see how the tree reacts," he said.

"We are in contact with producers to see how the situation develops, especially in the hardest hit zones."

Ochagavía added that the most recent freezes were less severe than others in recent years, most notably those from winter 2007.

"In general, the industry today has its plantations mostly on hill slopes. This helps diminish the effect of freezes because of the positive temperature difference between valleys and hills. This, however, does not eliminate the fact that certain producers experience significant losses," Ochagavía said.

Beyond freezes, winter also brings concern due to increased precipitation in some production zones. In others, drought is the difficult reality.

"During winter we worry about the quantity of rain in the season. It's been this way for the last three years. We need this winter to be wetter than a normal year but until now, we have an overall rain deficit," he said.

Regarding imports, Ochagavía said due to Peru's request to update entry protocol, Chile is working to prevent the spread of the viroid, sunblotch.

"We have been working closely these past few months with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) to create new protocol that requires avocados exported to Chile come from farms free of sunblotch, a quarantine disease that exists in Peru," he said.


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