Representatives of the Chilean Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta) recently meet with members of the Senate to brief them on the impact of November’s hailstorm in major growing regions.
A severe storm on Nov. 12 caused wide-spread damage in the country’s central-southern areas.
Jorge Valenzuela, the president of the organization, told the Senate Agriculture Committee about the actions being taken to help the affected producers.
The visit sought in part to emphasize the financial and technical assistance being given to medium-sized producers who “are the most vulnerable to these problems”, he said.
“We estimate that there are around US$200 million in losses,” said Valenzuela.
He added: “The current harvest was lost 100% in some places like Codegua and Graneros [in the O’Higgins region]”.
“What worries us the most is that the future crop was also compromised, due to the intensity and size of the hail that fell … and because we have never seen something like this before in our fruit industry,” said Valenzuela.
He said the hail hit growers of early cherry varieties in full harvest, along with pear and apple growers during the thinning stage
Further south, between Linares and Los Angeles, the most affected crops were blueberries, followed by apples, with some producers losing between 60% to 80% of their production, Fedefruta said.
“The damage is a lot bigger than what you’ve talked about in this session,” he said.
He pointed out that, globally, the effect on fruit volumes may not be significant, because of other non-affected areas will have greater production this season.
“However, we are concerned about the particular impact of the affected producers, with several who lost one hundred percent of their hectares, and that is the focus of the discussion,” he said.