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Argentina: INTA wants to anticipate the fruit harvest in the Upper Valley

The harvest is coming and, as usual, the fruit sector's logistics and organizations are not ready. This year's novelty is the controversy regarding the date on which the fruit should start being harvested.

According to fruit producers from the region, the Williams pear can be harvested starting the second half of January 2017. However, according to a publication from INTA Alto Valle, the William pear could start being harvested from January 7. They base this date on the report of the flowering dates and their effect on the fruits development and harvest dates.

The time difference is a big one: if producers begin the harvest too early, the fruit won't have the necessary qualities for producers to obtain good prices. The associations might also face complications if they rush negotiations to start the harvest.

Eduardo Artero, a producer from Cipolletti, said that his farm had very big pears, but that they wouldn't be ready to be harvested on the 7. "I would like to see the Williams pear that the INTA has in its experimental station so that I could emulate them. The truth is I'm very surprised by the date they gave," he said.

Other producers believe the Inta wants to advance the harvest so that the country can start exporting at an earlier date and thus compete with other markets. However, they say this would only apply to large companies, which can start harvesting, processing, and send their shipments overseas before. This would help better position the fruit, at least regarding logistics.

In turn, Gabriel Grisanti, of the Tres Ases company, said the date of the beginning of the Williams pear harvest was good news, as it meant they would be beginning to have revenues. "This will surely happen throughout the whole southern hemisphere because of climate issues. We work with a natural product, there are years when the harvest starts earlier and years that it's delayed. We have good calibers so far, and in the count we noticed there was a lower amount of fruit," he said.

Grisanti also spoke about the situation of the sector and said: "What's happening with some colleague companies, such as Expofrut, is regrettable and worrisome. People are losing their jobs. We are being stripped of everything we had achieved."

There's a farmer's saying that goes 'Pears don't wait', he said. Things have changed, now it's the production chain that won't wait for the fruit.

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