There are bad perspectives for the Chilean agricultural exports in a recent report by the Chilean-based newspaper Diario Financiero. The president of the Association of Exporters (ASOEX) Ronald Bown declared: "The current situation is worse than in 2007. There is no perspective to think that we will improve in this campaign". The main causes of this negative projections are the devaluation of the dollar with respect to the Chilean peso and the delay of harvesting in some of the products.According to Mr. Bown losses for this year reached already 300 million dollars in FOB value of Chilean exports. "If there are sub-sectors in the fruit sector with positive results at the end of the campaign they will be the least".
The most affected sectors are table grapes, were there is an estimated of losses of 7,000 dollars per harvested hectare. But to the exporting level, losses will be even higher. According to Luis Schmidt, president at the Sociedad Nacional de Agricultura, this would be the worse in the last 18 years. "The product which was a star (table grapes) in the last campaigns because of the good prices, nowadays is not so profitable" declared Mr. Schmidt.Table grapes are not the only product with problems. The Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies estimates a general decrease in volume and value for all the set of fruits in the first 2 months of 2008. "All products with high intensity of working force are suffering as the table grapes" declares Mr. Bown.
Strawberries are also falling, last year shippings reached 764 tons in the first two months. This year, they reached only 29 tons. Avocados reached 38,426 tons in 2007 and this year they are only 25.229 tons.Few products could have a positive scenario. "We expect positive results with kiwis and apples, but we are clear that the general result of the campaign will depend on the table grapes" declared Mr. Bown.There are some decisions that growers have to take. For example, some of them could no harvest during the next months.