Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, producers are confident that the number of shipments registered in 2011 and early 2012, when according to SAG, 11,273,506 boxes left Coquimbo's harbour, can be maintained.
José Corral, North Area Manager of Subsole, states that this time production was handled in a much more conservative way "when it comes growth regulator use." Regarding temperatures, he says that the spring was not one of the best and that some varieties were affected. "This has been the cause for the delay, but in general, I would say that in the next few weeks everything will go back to normal," he pointed out.
Regarding prospects for the 2012-2013 season, considering the difficulties already mentioned and the lack of water, Corral believes that production volumes could drop, as producers have been cautious in terms of acreage exploited. Nevertheless, he says that "the market is receiving smaller volumes than usual; it is not saturated. If things stay this way, we can expect a good season, very similar to last year's, considering the lower supply." However, there may be complications by the end of the season, when water reserves will be depleted.
For his part, Eduardo Alcayaga, a local grower, points out that "we are feeling quite optimistic about this season." In general, he says that volumes in Elqui valley should remain similar to 2011-2012, "but in Limarí valley they will probably drop, as the area has been more sensitive to the lack of rain and snow, affecting productive capacity." In his opinion, other than the lower production, the biggest complication will be caused by exchange rates, "as the lower value of the dollar reduces our competitiveness," he stressed.
Yesterday, the first grape shipment that will leave Coquimbo's harbour towards Los Angeles, United States, was loaded. Rodrigo Trucco, general manager of the terminal, explained that it consists of 2,000 pallets of fruit coming from the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo. Regarding prospects for this season, he said that "from now until early March, we expect to ship a little over 100,000 tonnes of fruit, mainly grapes."
Source: Diario El Día