Falkland Islanders has been warned that fresh produce may be in short supply for some time to come due to changes in the Chilean Customs' procedures. Stanley Growers owner Tim Miller said that a large order for fruit and vegetables was not shipped from Santiago last week, as Customs officials at Punta Arenas insisted for the first time that LATAM airline provide them, in advance, with exact weight and contents of the cargo.
There was very little communication between LATAM and Tim’s supplier in Chile, and so it had been unclear what had caused the disruption.
Mr. Miller emphasized that the system had worked well for 20 years, 52 weeks of the year. But if this new system remains in place, it will be impossible to transport fresh produce to the Falklands from Chile. The order would be made up on the Tuesday, and won’t arrive in Stanley's shops until Sunday or Monday at the earliest.
As things stand, there is little point continuing to order “fresh” produce from Chile, until the Chilean authorities revert to the previous procedure, according to Mr. Miller.
As well as the local population, other customers affected would include cruise ships resupplying in Stanley, British Antarctica Survey bases in Antarctica and offshore patrol vessels.
Some vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers will be grown locally, but are a few weeks away from being ripe.
Other fruits, such as bananas, can be brought in by ship from Uruguay, but this can mean short shelf-lives and they are sometimes more expensive than air-freighted produce from Chile. (Penguin News).-