Chaotic climate conditions are having an impact on agriculture worldwide and in Chile the most recent victim of instability are raisins. Last January when grapes are expected to mature and develop a high content of sugar, torrential rains hit Chile's wines, and the excess of water harmed a high percentage of the harvest.
This also happened in a season when farmers opted for less grapes and looked for more profitable harvests such as cherries and even walnuts. This means that overall raisin production and exports from Chile this year will be 5% less, according to a US Department of Agriculture report. It could sound as a small volume, but in a year when world costs for food are on the increase, the whole average production is needed to keep food inflation under control.
In effect, climate change and extreme situations has been hitting food production, for example the extended drought on both sides of the US/Canada border, which has meant many hectares of land with wheat and barley has been cut and sold as fodder. In Brazil, the most extreme low temperatures in a quarter of a century are threatening coffee supplies. In Germany torrential rains have also impeded harvesting of grains and in the Chinese province of Henan, a breadbasket, has also been affected by floods.
Meanwhile in Chile raisins might have escaped the worst impact of climate conditions, but it limited the supply of fresh grapes, with the discarded and leftovers used for production of juice, wine and raisins. However because of the excess of rain, grapes became more susceptible to fungi and other diseases and less apt to survive long trips to export markets, points out the USDA report.