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Argentina : Frost affects stonefruit in Mendoza

A study by the Ideal Foundation obtained data on the economic impact of the recent frosts that affected agribusinesses in the province of Mendoza (Argentina), which includes damage in the fields of stonefruit (peach, plum, cherry and apricot).

Mendoza has 55,000 hectares planted with fruit, 22% of the province’s productive area. Of these, 39,400 hectares are stonefruit crops, which were severely damaged by the frosts in last September.

The October 2013 study indicates that, in the case of peaches (fresh and ) and fresh plum, 85% of the crops were lost, 35% of the plum, for processing, 75% of the cherry crops and 90% of the apricot crops were also lost.

The paper also notes that, considering only the gross value of production (GVP) based on the previous harvest, losses in the primary sector would reach 743 million pesos ($125 million dollars). The most affected areas were the Southern region (General Alvear and San Rafael) and the Valle de Uco, where the fruit accounts for 46.3% and 30.9% of the total area. For these areas, the losses would result in almost 320 million and 190 million pesos (54 and 32 million dollars), respectively.

Another consequence of the heavy frost has been the decrease in the labour required.

The loss of jobs will be felt mostly during January (10,600 jobs less), since there won’t be much need for labour to harvest peaches and plums. Many jobs will be lost because of all the fresh fruit that won’t be packaged and won’t enter the processing industry to be canned, dehydrated, and make other products.

Regarding the total value of lost stonefruit that won’t be processed, the study says that it’ll amount to 1,345 million pesos ($ 226 million dollars), of which 48% correspond to the peaches processing industry, 22% to their packaging, and 16% to the prun industry.

"This GVP includes raw materials, employment in the processing sector. If we excluded the raw material and consumption of processed goods GVP, the value lost between workers and processors amounts to approximately 321 million pesos (55 million dollars)," states the report.


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