The Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex) has confirmed it is evaluating the potential damage caused by heavy rainfall which struck several parts of the country at the end of the last week and could potentially have a negative impact on a number of its fruit exports.
In a press statement published on its website, the group said the it ‘regretted’ the rain, which reportedly hit as far north as Coquimbo and as far south as Bió Bió, approximately halfway down the country.
However, it did imply that the volume of table grapes yet to be harvested when the rains hit was “not significant”.
"We regret the situation that is facing the country and the Chilean people,” said Asoex president Ronald Bown.
“As an association we are conducting a survey that will allow us to get a more accurate picture of the damage, because at the moment it’s too early to put forward figures or conclusions because producers and exporters are now focused on tackling what’s urgent.”
Bown added that many of the country’s table grape growers and exporters had been warned of the impending conditions, allowing them to make every effort to harvest their fruit in advance.
Asoex reported that the region worst affected was VI (O'Higgins), which also happens to be Chile’s leading source of export-grade fresh fruit.
Official government data shows that Chile sent two million tonnes of fruit to foreign markets during the 2014/15 season, of which 800,000 tonnes came from O'Higgins and 500,000 tonnes came from VII (Maule).
Among the main products grown in O'Higgins are table grapes, apples, kiwifruit, cherries, plums and blueberries.
The group added that it was also checking forecasts for the citrus crop, which is due to be harvested soon, and will publish new figures at the start of May.