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. 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) 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) 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...