Chile sees 22 pct fall in fruit exports after frost

SANTIAGO Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:45pm EDT

SANTIAGO Oct 15 (Reuters) - Fruit exports from Chile will fall 22 percent by volume, or by around $800 million, from a year ago after a late September frost caused extensive damage, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

Kiwis and almonds were the most affected crops, while the wine industry will see income fall by around $60 million after the cold weather also hit early grapes, particularly Chardonnay, minister Luis Mayol said.

Some of the damaged crops could still be sold domestically. Mayol said consumer prices had not yet been significantly affected.

The ministry declared a state of emergency two weeks ago after farmers said one of the worst frosts in decades had hit vital regions in one of South America's top fruit exporters.

Fruit and wine are some of Chile's largest industries after copper. Fruit exports were worth $4.3 billion in 2012 and wine exports were valued at $1.8 billion, according to government figures.