Breaking News from South America
Chile down plays sheep disease
Chilean officials played down the incidence of the recent outbreak of maedi visna in flocks of several Magallanes farms.
"Sanitary controls are strict and sufficient, so this should have no major incidence in the sale of mutton or lamb from Magallanes", said Mr. Alfredo Fonseca, new regional head of the Pro Chile office, which is responsible for promoting Chilean produce sales overseas.
Mr. Fonseca indicated this week in Punta Arenas that Pro Chile's main task this year was to attract foreign investment to Magallanes and therefore not only will the government run organization promote Magallanes lamb in foreign markets, but "also ensure that the world knows how strict our sanitary controls are".
However Mr. Fonseca said that Pro Chile's will not forget other areas of advancement such as tourism and anticipated an aggressive campaign in Asia, United States and Europe to promote Chilean Patagonia, one of the few areas in the world with an extraordinary environment and unspoiled wilderness. Record lamb season
Record lamb season
Abattoirs in Magallanes had a record lamb season in 2000, the highest in 24 years, according to a release this week from the regional (Punta Arenas) Agriculture Department Officer Víctor Vargas. According to Mr. Vargas the number of lambs for human consumption last year reached 430.782, equivalent to 63% of all sheep killed, and 13.121 above 1999. "These figures are very important since they indicate that the worst of the 1995 "white quake" consequences are over, and have even increased", emphasized Mr. Vargas recalling the winter blizzards of six years ago that killed over half a million sheep. Mr. Vargas said it was also proof of the effectiveness of the Lamb Development Program sponsored by the Chilean government to recover flocks and promote the Magallanes lamb as an authentic organic produce. Another aspect underlined by Mr. Vargas was the fact that in the seventies and eighties the number of culled sheep sent to abbatoirs was similar to that of lambs, "but now this clearly favors lambs (63%), meaning we have found a product which has a growing national and international demand". "Magallanes is rapidly finding its nich