Chile: Fedefruta releases strike effect estimation

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Chile: Fedefruta releases strike effect estimation

The Chilean fruit industry estimates it could lose 2.5 million boxes in fruit exports this week with a value of US$65 million, if strikes in the port of San Antonio continue until Jan. 17.

Fedefruta president Cristián Allendes.

Fedefruta president Cristián Allendes.

In a release, the Chilean Fruit Growers Federation (Fedefruta) said the potential loss could build on the 1.5 million boxes of fruit that were compromised by port stoppages last week, worth around US$40 million.

Click here for more background on the issue via our Chilestrikes2014 tag page.

The release emphasized that Chilean fruit demand in the Far East market would start rising significantly at the end of this week.

"The longer the conflict lasts, the more critical the situation becomes for us as grower-exporters, as in the month of February we load more than six million cartons per week, which would represent catastrophic losses for a fruit sector that doesn't have any option but to make the most of its production that was seriously diminished by the September frosts," Fedefruta president Cristián Allendes said in the release.

"It doesn't allow us to comply with our commitments, with serious damages not just for growers, but also the agricultural workers and their families."

Fedefruta announced it was currently analyzing the possibility of legal action against the port unions on strike in order to allow the free movement of perishable goods in the terminals in question.

"As a union representing fruit growers in Chile, we call on the union leaders of the port of San Antonio to lay down the illegal strikes and reestablish operations in these port terminals immediately," Allendes said.

"We also call on the government, authorities and judicial powers to enforce order, institutionality and a state of rights. A minority group without legal reasons is killing the country.

"There's been enough abuse of our farm workers who want a decent living, and of the businesspeople who work hard to bring our agricultural companies and other ventures forward."

Yesterday, sources close to claimed workers in the northern ports of Iquique and Antofagasta were still on strike, while operations were as per normal in the ports of Arica, Angamos, Valparaiso, San Vicente and Coronel.

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