Adverse weather including hail, strong winds and heavy rain that struck Chile last Monday are expected to result in slightly lower walnut production than anticipated.
The meteorological event damaged multiple crops such as plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apple trees, pear trees, almonds, and table grapes.
According to estimates from ChileNut, the weather phenomenon mainly affected walnut trees in the foothills of the O’Higgins Region.
Those areas “will end up representing around 2 and 3% of the nut production estimated for the next year,” said association president Nicolás di Cosmo.
Di Cosmo said that the storm has had impacts in large parts of the country, but he added that the most heavily affected orchards suffered production losses of 40 – 80%.
“The damage has been severe for a small group of producers. We empathize with them, and from now ChileNut has the doors open to offer assistance that will allow them to improve their situation,” he said.
The size of the planted area for walnut production in Chile has almost quadrupled over the last decade to around 40,000 hectares, and the country is now responsible for 20% of world exports.
The industry forecasts that Chile will close this year with an estimated production of 126,000 metric tons (MT).
At the beginning of the year, the industry had expected to export around US$500 million of walnuts, but this figure was revised downward after India – one of Chile’s key’s markets – implemented tariffs on 100% on all walnut imports in response to the U.S. imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum.