A favorable winter fruit import season from Chilean took a turn for the worse January 31st because of heavy rains and hail.
Chile is reporting serious damage to a number of key fruit crops in their early harvest season following unseasonal heavy rainfall of up to 2.4 inches in production regions.
The Fruit exporters’ association Asoex of Santiago reports rainfall – and hail in some cases – that hit the central and southern regions over the weekend damaging summer fruit crops including blueberries, table grapes, and stone fruit. This will result in lower export volumes than expected for the 2020-21 season.
There are reports of splitting in blueberries from later areas, especially in the Brightwell and Ochlockonee varieties, while in the Last Call variety, the situation is under evaluation. However, the damage observed so far will affect the production and export volume this season.
The Chilean blueberry industry had last year forecasted a slight increase in fresh exports to around 111,000 metric tons (MT). The South American country has shipped only 15 percent of its shipments for the season.
Asoex report grapes are “very damaged,” not only due to splitting, but also because of grapevine trellises collapsing due to the weight of the water. The Thompson variety in Rancagua, is already showing evidence of “mal de media luna” (half-moon syndrome), associated with a fungus that rots the grain and damages any attempt to market the fruit.
Additionally there was hail, but the effects are still being evaluated.
Additionally, stone fruit, there are losses due to splitting and possible rotting. Loss estimates are currently impossible because of continuing rain in some areas, while others areas remain inaccessible.