Chile exports, modern farming methods, market advantage, sugar beets, root crops
Some 14 percent of the labor force of Chile is engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and this sector accounts for 11 percent of the GDP. Except for sheep raising, conducted in the far south, the bulk of Chile’s agricultural activity is concentrated in the Central Valley. Since the 1960s agrarian land-reform programs have been instrumental in increasing the number of small landowners, and modern farming methods have increased productivity. While only 3 percent of Chile’s land area is currently under cultivation, agricultural production doubled from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. Chile exports more than twice the amount of agricultural products it imports.
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. Leading crops in 2001, with production in metric tons, included fruits, particularly grapes and apples (1.8 million), vegetables (2.6 million), root crops such as sugar beets and potatoes (1,218,040.0), and maize (778,498). Chile is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest exporter of fruits, sending much of its crop to North America, where the fresh produce enjoys a market advantage due to the inverted growing season. The country also has an important wine-making industry. Sheep are raised in large numbers in the Tierra del Fuego and the Magallanes regions of Chilean Patagonia. As a whole the country had about 4.2 million head of sheep in 2001, with a wool output of 17,220 metric tons. Other livestock include 4.1 million cattle, 2.5 million pigs, and 600,000 horses.
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