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News > Chile

Chile Decrees Agricultural Emergency Due to Drought

  • Aerial image of an area with water deficit, 2023

    Aerial image of an area with water deficit, 2023 | Photo: Twitter/ @BonettSol

Published 13 January 2023

To alleviate the problems caused by the drought, the government will grant aid to agricultural and livestock producers. 

For the first time in history, Chile last week declared an "agricultural emergency" in the Magallanes region and in the Chilean Antarctic due to the water deficit in those areas.

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"The lack of water in the fields affects the normal development of vegetation, which in turn represents the main source of forage for sheep farming in Magallanes," the Agriculture Ministry said. 

Referring to the 2022 winter season, the regional delegate, Luz Bermudez, said that "8.8 millimeters of water fell in November, a figure below the historical average of 60 millimeters."

In this regard, the Agriculture Ministry said that this situation is mainly affecting the livestock sector in the region, where sheep production is one of the main activities.

The Executive's first step in assisting the inhabitants of the area is to guarantee the development of vegetation to feed sheep farming.

The agricultural alert allows the government to grant aid to agricultural and livestock producers for water distribution, in one of the countries with the highest level of water privatization in the world.

Chile has had a private water ownership regime since the military dictatorship (1973-1990). It is estimated that 80 percent of the country's water resources are currently in the hands of large private agricultural, mining and energy companies.

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