November 11, 2008
Chile's 2008-2009 wheat crop hectares increased 4 percent, while its corn crop retreated 7 percent from the previous season, according to the INE national statistics institute's crop survey released Monday (November 10).
Grain crops as a whole, including oats, rice and barley, fell 1 percent from the previous season to a total 539,198 hectares, the INE said.
The planting area for all crops in the growing season inched down 0.4 percent from the previous season to 667,120 hectares, according to the survey.
Industrial-use crops, such as sunflower, oilseed rape, sugarbeet and tobacco jumped 9 percent to 57,760 hectares, INE added.
The INE said farmers previously expected sharp increases in international grain prices and that grains crops as a whole likely fell on higher costs, especially costs of fertilizers and fuels, in addition to less access to financing.
President Michelle Bachelet has set a policy target for Chile to become a major exporter of agricultural products during her government. The administration is also exploring increased use of agricultural crops and wood pulp for biodiesel.