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Year of frosts and drought to lower Chile's almond supply by up to 25%Chile's almond harvest is now over and, this year, growers have reported a dramatic decrease in production after frosts and droughts hurt crops across the country.
“We will have the exact figures by area and variety in the next three weeks, but according to estimates, the total volume of almonds has decreased by 15% to 25%, and the calibers are also smaller,” stated Jorge Andres Ovalle Madrid.
According to the almond producer, this reduction has two causes: “First, we had a year with many frosts in Chile, and second, there was a drought during winter – in May, June and July – which is the normal rainy season,” he stated.
The lack of rainfall resulted in fewer flowers, but also in damage due to the accumulation of salts in the soils, as there was no rain to wash them away.
Normally reduced supply will lift prices, easing the cost of low yields on farmers, but Chile can’t impose international prices since its almond surface is less than 1% of the surface area that the US has devoted to almonds. “World prices don’t change if we run out of almonds so producers are not getting more money for producing less fruit,” Ovalle said.
Publication date: 4/21/2017
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