Chilean Citrus Industry Suffers Freeze Damage

Josh McGill freeze, International

The president of Fedefruta (Federation of Chilean Fruit Producers), Jorge Valenzuela Trebilcock, is receiving testimony from farmers affected by damaging frosts. The frosts have spread through various productive areas of fruit and vegetables and have lasted much longer than normal. They have caused damage that is not yet quantifiable to avocados, lemons, oranges, tangerines and avocados.

Jorge Valenzuela Trebilcock

“The frosts have been very prolonged and very extensive in the national territory, so they have not only affected the central and southern areas,” said Trebilcock. “We have reports of very hard events for the production of fruit further north, such as citrus and avocados, and we are approaching the regional unions to measure the impact of this situation that is developing.”

In areas such as Chimbarongo, Graneros and Mostazal in the O’Higgins Region, the minimum temperatures exceeded 6 degrees below zero, and the frosts lasted more than 12 hours. Trebilcock said this is “very worrying for fruit trees.” Temperatures were worse in San Felipe, Valparaíso Region, where the minimum was 10 degrees below zero.

“What we know is that there were producers who had to work all night … with wind machines to prevent damage,” Trebilcock said. “We will continue registering and collecting testimonials to help measure the impact and come to the aid, together with the authorities, of the affected farmers.”

Fedefruta is made up of associated fruit growers who elect their representatives through annual assemblies.

Prior to the freeze, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS) issued production forecasts, acreage updates and trade information for Chilean lemons, oranges and mandarins. USDA FAS anticipated substantial seasonal production increases for all of those varieties in 2022–23 compared to the prior year.

Source: Federation of Chilean Fruit Producers

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