The heavy rains that hit the central-southern region of Chile at the end of January caused widespread damage, especially to mid-season table grapes yet to be harvested.
Carolina Cruz, president of the Research Commission for the Development of Table Grapes (Uvanova), spoke with FreshFruitPortal.com, offering an analysis of the measures currently being implemented to boost sales.
"The first and most basic action after this great rainfall event is to carry out an exhaustive diagnosis of the real impact of the rain on the fruit. The damages manifest as the days go by," Cruz said.
When the rainfall occurred, Uvanova immediately put new measures into action to mitigate the damage.
"In the immediate term, both Uvanova and the advisors that make up this association acting independently made protocols available to growers with different measures of both cultural work and phytosanitary strategies to mitigate the effects of the rains," she said.
"We consulted experts in each area and through our webpage, social networks and a webinar with companies related to agriculture, we disseminated all that, in our opinion based on our experience with this species, would achieve a positive result."
To encourage sales, Cruz said that “in this sense, the most important thing is to ensure that the quality and condition requirements of the exported fruit continue to be met."
"The worst that could happen to an industry already hit with losses in yields, is to arrive with negative results in sales because of fruit with problems at its destination. We must be rigorous when deciding what will be exported so as to maintain trust in the markets. Growers are making significant efforts to lessen the damage in their fields,” she emphasized.
The rainfall has generated changes in the grape industry, something Carolina Cruz confirmed stating “In the future, our actions will be more numerous and clearly this will mark a turning point in the way we produce table grapes. This productive disaster will leave us a lot more knowledgeable. "
"The incorporation of new technologies, better knowledge as to the behavior of new varieties when faced with this type of event, and the efficiency of damage containment measure will be a reference for the future.”
In the case of technologies used by Usanova, Cruz said “In recent years, changes have been important and necessary. These range from the introduction of plastics and meshes to enhance performance and reduce the negative effects associated with climate change, to the introduction of alternative conduction structures, to the Spanish vineyard.”
Chile is the principal exporter of table grapes in the world. According to data from the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex) in the period from 2019 to 2020, the country exported 603,616 metric tons (MT) of table grapes to different global destinations.
The U.S. received 45.5 percent of the total exported amount while Asia took second place with 27.7 percent of the total. China continued as the main destination for Chilean grapes with 112,809 MT.
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