Argentina: El Niño wetness threatens Mendoza fruit production
Excessive moisture seen in the south of Argentina's Mendoza Province during its spring and summer seasons has affected local production of several fruits, website Unosanrafael.com.ar reported.
The rain stemming from the El Niño weather phenomenon has growers on alert to prevent future losses to production.
"We have already lost a lot of fruit, particularly peaches, due to Monilinia. Peaches that were already damaged from browning have been more prone to this fungus," said San Rafael rural committee president Cristian Delpozzi.
"[The abundant moisture] has brought many problems for growers who haven't been able to treat the issue. They have lost many peaches due to this – about 15% of production in the south."
Delpozzi said poor quality fruit intended for processing pulp had been particularly affected this peach season.
"Much fewer cans have been processed, prices are down, costs are increasing daily due to the strengthening dollar… This will be a very difficult year for us," he said.
Grapes in the area have been affected by the Quintal disease which stems from excessive wetness, particularly green grapes, according to Delpozzi.
He estimated white grape production was down 30% due to both browning and disease triggered by increased moisture.
Local production of D’Agen plums has also been affected by the recent wet weather, with plums damaged by browning or splitting seeing a build-up of mold in their splits.
"We haven't been able to apply pesticides to treat this. We hope the sunshine from the last few days will put a stop to it," said Delpozzi.
He said so far local growers had not seen a suitable response from the local government to help curb these adversities.
"We are complaining to the provincial government but nothing has happened. The national government has provided relatively favorable conditions, such as the strong dollar for exports, but those responsible for the regional economies are not doing their part."