Chile: Fruit growers blame productivity loss on abolition of DST

The Chilean Government's decision to abolish Daylight Saving Time (DST) has resulted in fruit growers experiencing at least a 15% loss in productivity, according to estimates of the Federation of Fruit Producers of Chile (Fedefruta).

With the current time zone, the sunrise across the country is delayed by 60 minutes, causing problems to field labourers, who are unable to work early in the day due to lack of sunlight and the infeasibility of effectively setting up artificial lighting in open areas.

"We lose 45 minutes every day, since we must wait for the day to become clearer before people can get to work," says Juan Carolus Brown, president of Fedefruta. "Since 15% of the workday is compromised, the productivity of fruit growers is also reduced by 15%," he estimates.

This month, for example, activities as important as the pruning of vineyards have to be carried out, which simply cannot be done in the dark, since the use of scissors without full daylight entails a great risk of accidents.

Brown argues that, despite having more daylight in the evening, work cannot be extended either in closed spaces, such as fruit-packing stations, after 18:00, since it leads to higher electricity bills because of the rush hour tariffs in place at this time of year.

The situation is even more serious in rural areas of south-central Chile, such as Maule, where the apple and kiwi harvests are in full swing (with apples accounting for one third of the country's exports). The processes in both orchards and packing houses must be implemented with great intensity during these weeks, "and the loss of one hour of sunlight in the mornings ends up taking a toll on the whole chain," affirms Juan Carolus Brown.

Consequently, Fedefruta regrets that the Government has taken this decision without first consulting the various sectors and agricultural unions, given the impact this will have on the rural areas. The Federation stresses the request from parliamentarians to review this measure and return to the previous system, due to the extent of the impact the current one is having on citizens and industries.


Source: La Nacion.cl

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