Argentina: Roca fruit production devastated by hail

The hail highly affected a large part of the Upper Valley. A few days before the harvest started, most of the apple, pear, and peach production was lost in some farms. This time, the most affected was an area in Roca. The storm damaged part of the crop of small landholders in the Middle Valley. The phenomenon only lasted 18 minutes. It also caused fallen trees and power outages.

The unexpected storm, which took place on Tuesday night, mercilessly hit a large portion of producers of this city. The hail fell along an extensive area from the sector of JJ Gomez to the river covering a good part of the local ejido. It was accompanied by a lot of wind and rain that left many stone fruit growers on the brink of the abyss.

The damage, a farmer estimated, will affect the current production as well as the next one.

"Is unbelievable. The hail left nothing standing: it uprooted trees, made the fruit fall, damaged plants," said Jose Garcia, president of the Chamber of Roca.

The storm came with force after 10 pm on Tuesday. "I lost everything. I lost a whole year's effort in 18 minutes," said producer Carlos Jedrejcic, who lost all the production he had in four fields. The damage, a farmer estimated, will affect the current production as well as the next one.

The outlook is bleak in the coastal rural area. Producers are angry and devastated. The plants are damaged, branches are broken, the fruits that remain on the plants are scarred and many were left lying on the ground. The apple and pears were hit by huge hail, and the peaches were broken by the ice.

Provincial authorities toured the areas to contact the affected producers and to start evaluating the damage. "We know that a high percentage of the farms throughout the city had damages. Some of them had damages of up to 100% and the ones that were affected the least had damages of 60 to 70%," the local Chamber stated.

"It's terrible. We are about to start the harvest. Producers had already spent their resources. Now we have to see how to continue, what to do with the workers. Unfortunately, because of the crisis, this year less than 50% of the producers that had insurance with the province were able to get said insurance, so the only thing left to do is to wait, make the affidavits, and begin rethinking everything," said Garcia.


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