Despite the drought, the region expects to export over 100,000 tons of fruit. The regional authorities, led by mayor Hanne Utreras, witnessed the loading process of the first shipment of grapes from the region to the United States.

The producers from the Region of Coquimbo have been hit harder than ever this year by the water issue. Some of them have even begun to close operations in their land due to the lack of water. Hence, the authorities have been very cautious and haven't given any definite figures for fruit exports, especially of table grapes.

Yesterday, the fruit export season, destined for the European and North American markets, was officially launched at the Terminal Port of Coquimbo (TPC). "Today we are embarking over 2,500 tons. We expect we will export more than 100,000 tons during this season. The most important thing is that the port was employing about 100 people, and today that has increased to 400 people. Even though the area has been strongly affected by the drought, we see that this productive vocation, primarily related to our table grapes, is still hard at work," said the regional intendant, Hanne Utreras.

Meanwhile, the minister of Agriculture, Francisco Rojas, reiterated that the lack of water had been very relevant when assessing the volume of exports. "We have had a downward trend; last season, for example, there was a significant decrease of 35 percent. We hope this year, despite the water scarcity, to somehow capitalize what we have learned over the years and probably have some positive surprises, "said the authority.

The manager of the Terminal Port, Rodrigo Trucco, was also optimistic about this season's fruit exports. "We think this season could be higher than last year's. It is a time of year when many jobs are generated, our employees are very happy. Today, we are simultaneously loading our first boat with fruits and a boat with the machinery for a wind energy project, so we are reinforcing our role as a multipurpose port. We look forward to a very successful season," he said.

On this occasion, the regional authorities inspected the loading of grapes and celebrated the staff's safety and professionalism.

Source: El Día