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Rain provides much-needed relief for Chile's citrus industry

Recent heavy rains in the Coquimbo region in northern Chile are filling up reservoirs and providing much-needed relief for an industry that has been under pressure from years of drought.

In week 19, an average of 99.28 millimeters of rain fell in the Coquimbo region, where Chilean clementines are currently being harvested. According to the Chilean Citrus Committee, as of May 17 enough water has been secured for the next four seasons.

Harvesting stopped for a few days but has now resumed. Many orchards will continue to harvest to normalize volumes. As of week 19, Chilean clementine exports totaled 411,000 boxes (6,550 tons), up 88 percent from the same date last season. Of this volume, 99 percent (6,507 tons) has been sent to the United States (74 percent to the East Coast and 26 percent to the West Coast). The heavy volumes have resulted from an early clementine season and new orchards coming into production.

Chile anticipates another blockbuster season for citrus, with strong volumes of mandarins and navels available through October.