Lack of manpower continues to be a headache in the agricultural industry

The agricultural industry continues to face a severe labor shortage, which adds to the rising cost of inputs as a result of the pandemic. Despite that, there are sectors that closed the season with happy accounts.

Despite the campaigns promoted by the Government to encourage agricultural labor, the lack of workers has become a headache for entrepreneurs in the sector, with nearly 50% deficit in relation to the average of previous seasons .

To this problem are also added the high production costs caused by the pandemic and sanitary restrictions, given that products such as fertilizers or herbicides have doubled or even tripled -in some cases- their values.

The lack of workers has made the production mechanisms change, for example, harvesting the fruit with machines. However this causes a loss for farmers.

Álvaro Gática, a blueberry producer from the Ñuble region, has had to export frozen fruit, which directly hurts him because the sale values ​​are up to 60% lower.

In this context uncertainty is generated about the losses that may occur for the sector this contingency.

Cristian Muñoz, president of the Chilean Association of Producers and Exporters of Vegetables, considers that this aspect can be faced with a better salary offer, and does not affect as much as other external variables, such as the water crisis.

For his part, Jorge Valenzuela, president of the Federation of Fruit Producers of Chile (Fedefruta), warns that despite the fact that salaries in the sector have risen, this has not reversed the labor deficit, also leading to a greater production cost.

Despite the difficulties, the close of the 2021 citrus season had happy accounts Since 322 tons were exported, according to figures from the Chilean Citrus Committee.

The figure is equivalent to a 9% increase over the previous year. The main destination market was the United States, which received 87% of all shipments.

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