Argentina: Apricot and plum production declined because of a poor flowering

Due to various climatic factors, the fruit sector in the province of San Juan hasn't had good harvests, its yields have not been what was expected, and the sector's boom at the start of the third millennium, for which there were high expectations in the province, hasn't happened. 

Agronomist Adrian Sanchez, from the Cerro Blanco fruit company, which is located in Zonda, stated that winter had been quite generous with its chill hours, which are essential to promote good flowering, but that the spring had surprised them with a rather long, uneven flowering in which there had been a small overlap between pollinators and pollinated flowers. 

Regarding the crop forecasts, Sanchez said the Castell Brite apricot variety has been presented the most problems setting, so they had lost around 70% of the production. In plums, the Black Amber variety has had the worst performance so far, as its flowering didn't match its pollinators and the fruit set is very low. 

"That has led me to believe that the different apricot and plum farms in San Juan have had losses between 20% and 50%, depending on their varietal composition," he stated. 

"However, this is just an appreciation of the moment, this is a particularly windy year, and the effects of winds on these fruits can be dramatic. We've already seen some damage, especially as the fruits have fallen, and we will probably continue to see residual effects as the limbs rub," Sanchez said. 

Regarding markets, Sanchez said that Argentina, like the rest of the southern hemisphere, had a good offer. "We've had stable prices for several years and a slight increase in volumes, both Brazil and the northern markets are expecting it will be a normal season," he said. 

However, Sanchez stated, Argentina can't trade with those international markets because "the country's lacks of competitiveness in recent years has increased our prices more than what the customers are willing to paid. Our offer has been mainly supplied by South Africa and Chile," he added. 

"In turn, we are facing two problems in the domestic market: the peaches mark the price of apricots and, as far as we can see, there will be a good supply so their prices won't be very good. Additionally, Argentina only consumes 10% of its plum production, and since the export prospects are very low, we expect it will be a very difficult commercial season." 

Source: Diario de Cuyo

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