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Argentina: Neuquén expecting decline in cherry harvest

Due to temperature problems, the producers of the Neuquén region expect at least a 20% fall in this season's harvest, just a few weeks before its start. Meanwhile, it is expected that Chile, the largest producer in the southern hemisphere,
will improve its performance.

Although the situation is not declared as troublesome, as for pear and apple producers, the cherry production has entered a stage that starts to get complicated by the loss of profitability. At least according to some large Neuquén producers. In the specific case of the cherry, producers and technical advisors foresee a 20% decline in the production due to temperature issues that caused flowering to come earlier.

Luis Franzán, producer with 3 hectares in Valentina South and 10 in Centennial, told E&E: "In our case the forecast harvest is good, although we know of other cases where the decline in their harvest has been because of problems that have also
affected Valle Medio, Mendoza and Chile. There was a lack of pollination at flowering and it is unclear why that happened. We think it is because of very cold weather conditions that resulted in little bee activity during pollination. Or the lack of wind in the case of self-pollination varieties, and this has caused some plants to give little fruit."

For his part, Juan Carlos Pujó, agronomist and advisor for cherry producers in the Alto Valley, Valle Medio and Trelew said: "There is a decline of between 20% and 50% in the cherry production and we are studying if it is due to a lack cold hours
that made the accumulation between January and June less and bloom before time. But we understand that it was largely due to a temperature problem." He also ruled that the phenomenon is a result of a problem in bee pollination and that "most parts of the varieties of the valley are self-pollinating, with a slight breeze they are pollinated". Pujó recalled that in the issue of temperature, those producers who were affected by frost last August 21 and did not do anything about it had a greater loss. The agronomist also recalled that most modern productions, of high density
work with drip and an active defense is to spray because the heating system with fuel oil became very expensive.

Pujó also recalled that in the case of Chile, the largest producer of cherries in South America, last year production reached nearly 80 million kg, and this year, barring a decline, should reach nearly 100 million kg.

The vision of this agricultural engineer is aligned with the projections of iQonsulting published in Fresh Plaza. According to the consultant company, it is expected for Chilean cherry exports to increase by 11%, reaching 78,000 tons during the 2012-2013 campaign. The forecast represents a further increase compared to the 71,000 tons shipped during the 2011/12 which, in turn, resulted in a 23% growth compared with the same date of the 2010-2011 season.

IQonsulting expects for exports to Asia to grow this year, supported by the synchronization of the later dates of the Chinese New Year a celebration that will give providers more time to plan their shipments. While shipments to Asia are still
increasing, it is also expected that the North American market will receive a more stable volume of cherries from Chile.

Meanwhile, in Europe there will be a decrease in arrivals due in large part to the economic crisis in the region.

Source: La mañana de Neuquén

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