Chile faces a “state of shock in agriculture and fruit growing” because of the severity of the hydric crisis and sustained drought, to which must be added the driest July in the country's history, pointed out the president of the Chilean Federation of Fruit Producers, Jorge Valenzuela.
Fruit production employs 700,000 people but if the situation continues there are some areas that will cease to produce, because of water availability or because they will decrease production. This means fruit farmers will have to decide what to plant from now onwards.
Members of the Federation have been talking with local associations about the situation, which in some places because of the lack of a basic water supply, endangers the continuity of many fruit farms. But the lack of water is not the only challenge, unstable temperatures and the out of program events such as the downpour last summer that spoilt most of the table grapes and stone fruit harvests.
Following on the Intergovernmental panel on climate change, IPCC, and what we are experiencing here in Chile, climate change in bringing many uncertainties about the future and the consequences are being felt all over the world, said Valenzuela. The situation not only involves small and medium farmers but also the thousands of families that make a living out of selling food goods, and live in their plots of land”
Given this situation the fruit producers of Chile are demanding a public policy that goes beyond governments and strengthens a sector of the economy that guarantees food security for the population; a string of desalination plants, financed by government, to ensure human consumption, food production and other farming activities, as well as the necessary modifications in the water networks to recycle the use of water.
In the immediate future fruit producers are demanding the setting up of collective water ponds for small and medium sized farms, and a rescheduling of debts with banks and government services.