In areas of Curicó, an important cherry production area in Chile, some orchards will reportedly only be able to deliver 20 to 30% of the initially expected harvest as a result of the impact of storms and rainfall.

In early November, the losses, due to cracking, were still estimated at just 30%, but Fedefruta, the federation that represents all fruit producers in Chile, now reports a 50% drop for the early harvests, mainly of the Royal Dawn and Santina varieties.

"Right now, with the early cherry campaign almost finished in the O'Higgins Region, we are seeing a 50% reduction in the harvest of these varieties, with areas such as Curicó reporting drops of between 60 and 80%," said Fedefruta president and Malloa cherry producer Jorge Valenzuela Trebilcock.

"The situation has become clearer now that we are packing and shipping the fruit, and we believe that cherry exports will fall below 80 million boxes," he added.

Trebilcock also mentioned that this reduction is the result of a lack of hours of cold during the winter, which took a toll on the flowering and fruit setting of the early varieties.

"In December, the cherry harvests in the country's various producing regions increase exponentially every day," said Jorge Valenzuela. "Thus, we are reminding all producers that what matters most is to maintain our quality and remain consistent. We must work hard, but also remain cool-headed, hoping that we'll have a few more stable weeks from a climatic point of view ahead of the peak of the harvests."

Through its associations, the entity is also monitoring the impact of the latest rains on the upcoming table grape harvests in the central zone, as well as on the blueberries from Parral, Maule Region, in the south. "Rains have different effects on fruit growing and we cannot forget about other crops that are equally important for the agricultural regions," said the main representative of the fruit growers.

For more information: fedefruta.cl