Chile: Crop delays and rain rattle stonefruit season
Setbacks in Chile's crop planting and a mid-January rainfall have distrupted the country's peach and nectarine season.
Last year, the amount of surface area dedicated to the peach crop fell by 28% year-on-year to reach 2,019 hectares, while nectarine crops land grew by 3% to 5,340 hectares, according to figures from national statistics office ODEPA.
Agrofoods agricultural manager Felipe Vallejos said peaches had an intrinsic susceptibility to browning and forming a mealy texture.
"Additionally, the existing varieties currently do not last for more than three or four weeks, five at the most," he said.
Apart from browning and rotting, another obstacle is the oversupply of peaches during certain times of the year, particularly in the U.S. market, lowering prices between February and March.
Vallejos said growers could help avoid this by joining variety clubs that can help regulate supply according to market demand.
He added the mid-January rainfall mainly affected the late-season peach and nectarine varieties.
"The majority will complete their harvest at the beginning of February, but the rain also severely affected the start of the harvest for canned peaches."
Vallejos added the situation was worsened by the fact the season was delayed by some ten days.
Finally, mild temperatures with humid mornings have triggered the formation of mold.
To tackle these challenges, Vallejos recommends growers focus on the postharvest stage, a factor which he believes has been improving since the last decade.