Climate change and the mega-drought that is affecting Chile have changed agricultural production in the region of Valparaiso, one of the most affected regions by these phenomena. In the last decade, the area devoted to growing fruit in the region has decreased by 3.5%; in contrast, in the rest of the country, the area has increased by 28.7% in the same period.
Unwanted guests have been spotted in Chilean fruit orchards since 2017. Last February, for the first time, they were also detected in the central zone. It is the Drosophila suzukii, better known as the spotted wings fly, an insect whose feeding habits could be a great threat to Chilean fruit production, especially in species of great economic relevance, such as cherries, blueberries, raspberries and other berries.
Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, announced that the government had decided to declare an agricultural emergency in the Region of Valparaiso due to the water shortage that affects the area. "We have signed the decree that officially declares this agricultural emergency due to water scarcity," said he said.
On Sunday morning, several teams from the Regional Secretariat of Agriculture visited the Region of Coquimbo to assess the damage generated by last Saturday's 6.7-degree earthquake. The work intensified on Monday, and much of the effort has gone to the Province of Limari and Elqui, where the greatest amount of damage has been reported, especially in irrigation works.
The Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, decreed an agricultural emergency zone in the municipalities of Mostazal, Graneros, Codegua, Machali, Rancagua, Requinoa, Rengo, Olivar, Malloa, and Chimbarongo, due to the complex situation that the hailstorm that took place on November 12 and that affected agricultural producers in those locations generated in that area.
Two weeks after a severe hailstorm that affected horticultural production in numerous regions of Chile, associations representing blueberry, table grape, cherry and kiwifruit growers have released initial impact assessments. Unusually large hailstones, heavy rain, and strong winds hit the country’s central-southern regions on Nov. 12, just as the harvests for the summer export season were getting underway.
The intensity of this Monday's rains and hailstorms in south central Chile affected many crops. Some producers have registered more damages than others. The question is to what extent this will this affect exports and employment in the region. The president of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile (Asoex), Richard Bown, said that the regions of O'Higgins, Maule, Ñuble, Bio Bio, and Araucania were affected by the weather event.
A major hailstorm has hit fruit production in Chile’s central and southern regions, and although damage assessments are still being made, it seems that there have been significant losses for numerous crops including cherries. The adverse weather event struck on Monday between the Metropolitan and Biobio regions, with the most severe impacts being reported in the foothill areas of the mountains.
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