Heavy Rains Inflict Over $1 Billion in Agricultural Losses in Chile

Heavy Rains Inflict Over $1 Billion in Agricultural Losses in Chile

Last week, Chile experienced extreme weather conditions, with heavy rains causing devastating losses in its central south farming region. According to estimates by authorities and industry experts, the losses may exceed $1 billion. The government declared a catastrophe and issued an agricultural emergency for 100 municipalities, approving $8.3 million for immediate aid to farmers.

State of Catastrophe

The Chilean government, led by President Gabriel Boric, declared a catastrophe due to the dangerous rains that have affected isolated communities and resulted in at least three fatalities. An agricultural emergency was issued for 100 municipalities, and $8.3 million was approved to replace damaged irrigation infrastructure and canal systems. However, farmers have called for additional assistance.

Widespread Damage

Antonio Walker, the National Agricultural Society (SNA) president, stated that the damage is extensive and affects small, medium, and large farmers. “There is damage to producers that supply the local market and also a lot of orchards that are dedicated to export,” Walker said. The losses include damage to irrigation systems, riverside areas, fruit and vegetable orchards, and animal fodder.

Economic Significance

Chile is not just a top exporter of copper; it is also a strong player in the agricultural and forestry sectors. The country exports fresh fruit, nuts, pulp, wine, and wood. The losses incurred from heavy rains could have a ripple effect on these export sectors, affecting the Chilean economy.

Urgent Measures and Future Concerns

Walker emphasized the need for urgent measures before the arrival of the southern spring in September, a crucial period for crop irrigation. Additionally, farmers are concerned that the El Niño weather phenomenon could bring more heavy rains and further instability in the coming months.

Photo by Thomas Griggs on Unsplash 

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