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Food and Agriculture of Chile

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Front page Acknowledgement Chile: Food and Agriculture Republic of Chile is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations. It has been relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that have blighted the continent. The shape of Chile is a distinctive ribbon of land 4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide.

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Its climate varies, ranging from the world’s driest desert – the Atacama – in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a rainy temperate climate in the south. (Wikipedia)[1] The country had Latin America’s fastest-growing economy in the 1990s and has weathered recent regional economic instability, as measured by the Gini Index (Mideplan. 2007). But it faces the challenges of having to diversify its copper-dependent economy – it is the largest world producer – and of addressing uneven wealth distribution. BBC News, 6 August 2011)[2] Brief History of Chile’s Agriculture: While the share of land devoted to export crops such as fruit and vegetables is increasing, about half of all farms still raise wheat, the traditional foundation of Chilean agriculture. Of the total land area of 74. 8 million hectares (184 million acres),2. 3 million hectares (5. 7 million acres) is arable land. Until 1940, Chile was substantially self-sufficient in most basic foodstuffs. Since World War II (1939–45), serious food deficits have developed, adding to the nation’s external payments burden.

Agricultural production of major crops in 1999 (in tons) was as follows: sugar (raw), 448,000; wheat, 1,197,000; corn, 624,000; oats, 201,000; barley, 81,000; rapeseed (canola) 72,000; and rice, 61,000. Agriculture was one of the sectors most adversely affected by the recession of 1982, but it quickly recovered by the mid-1980s. Poor results in the traditional agricultural sector inhibit a more rapid expansion in agriculture. One of the areas of most rapid growth is in fresh fruit, with the production of grapes rising by 35% between 1981 and 1985. The fruit harvest in 1999 (in tons) included grapes, 1,575,000; apples, 1,165,000; peaches and nectarines, 310,000; pears, 350,000; oranges, 185,000; and lemons and limes, 110,000. Avocado production for 1999 was estimated at 82,000 tons, up from 39,000 tons during 1989–91. Most of the avocado orchards are in central Chile, from Region IV to Region VI (Encyclopedia of nations) [3]. Leading crops in 2001, with production in metric tons, included fruits, particularly grapes and apples (1. 8 million), vegetables (2. million), root crops such as sugar beets and potatoes (1,218,040. 0), and maize (778,498). Chile is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest exporter of fruits, sending much of its crop to North America, where the fresh produce enjoys a market advantage due to the inverted growing season. The country also has an important wine-making industry (Fair Trade Finder) [4] Agricultural land (% of land area) in Chile: Agricultural land refers to the share of land area that is arable, under permanent crops, and under permanent pastures.

Arable land includes land defined by the FAO as land under temporary crops (double-cropped areas are counted once), temporary meadows for mowing or for pasture, land under market or kitchen gardens, and land temporarily fallow. Land abandoned as a result of shifting cultivation is excluded. Land under permanent crops is land cultivated with crops that occupy the land for long periods and need not be replanted after each harvest, such as cocoa, coffee, and rubber.

This category includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, but excludes land under trees grown for wood or timber. Permanent pasture is land used for five or more years for forage, including natural and cultivated crops. (Trading Economics)[5] Major Crops in Chile: Agriculture is the main occupation of about 15% of the population; it accounts for about 10% of the national wealth, and produces less than half of the domestic needs.

Wheat, potatoes, corn, beans, sugar beets, and fruit are the chief crops; a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains are grown in the Vale of Chile, the country’s primary agricultural area. The vineyards of the valley are the basis of Chile’s wine industry. (Trading Economics)[6] Agricultural region and climate: Chiles principal growing region and agricultural heartland is the Central Valley delimited by the Chilean Coast Range in the west, the Andes in the east Aconcagua River by the north and Bio-Bio River by the south.

In the northern half of Chile cultivation is highly dependent on irrigation. South of the Central Valley cultivation is gradually replaced by aquaculture, silviculture, sheep and cattle farming. River valleys help pruduction of grapes for Pisco and papayas also include olives and avocados. Zona central, most important agricultural region with Mediterranean known as wine region. In the northan part, Zona Sur, is the region that support Wheat cultivation, cattle farming, silviculture and salmon aquaculture.

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