Chilean growers exported about 282 million boxes of fruit last year, and experts believe that exports will fall short of that by about 50 million boxes for this year. However, when production increases are taken into account, the total frost damage to fruit production could be closer to 60 million or 65 million boxes.
The wine industry was hit hard by the frost as well.
Estimates put the total damage to Chilean crops at $1 billion. Reuters reports that between 35 percent and 61 percent of stone fruit crops were damaged, 57 percent of almonds, 48 percent of kiwis and 20 percent of grapes. The U.S. imports about 42 percent of the country’s grapes.
“These frosts are the worst that agriculture has faced in 84 years, impacting the area from Coquimbo to Bio Bio,” the National Agricultural Society said.