Chile’s Agriculture Minister, María Emilia Undurraga, said at a press conference on Wednesday (25) that the agricultural emergency the country is undergoing “is being analyzed in the context of a prolonged drought for 13 years” and defended measures to the country to face climate change.
Also according to the Chilean minister, the lack of rain affects a region in the north of the country, in Coquimbo, as far as El Maule, in the center-south, an area that concentrates most of the population and important agricultural areas.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states that nearly three million Chileans, about 15.6% of its population, do not have regular access to adequate food.
The country has 168 communes, administrative units in the country, out of a total of 346 in an agricultural emergency regime due to water deficit. The Ministry of Agriculture claims to provide funding to face the situation.
The five largest water reservoirs in Chile are with a deficit of 38% compared to the historical average and lower levels than those recorded in August 2020 (-6%) and 2019 (-24%), according to the Directorate General of Waters. The country also has a 65% deficit in snow levels compared to the historical average.
“The more than 12 years of rainfall deficit our country is facing, and a better future is not in sight, obliges us to deepen and improve all the actions to adapt to drought and climate change that are necessary,” said Undurraga in text in the Chilean press on legislation on the use of water in agriculture.
According to a survey by the Catholic University, among 92 countries, Chile is the only country that establishes in its Constitution private ownership of water. The Constitutional Convention of Chile, however, is considering changing this point.
:: Higher food prices are a consequence of agribusiness, says Greenpeace spokesperson ::
Also according to the survey, the water supply in Chile is expected to drop 50% over the next 10 years as the planet warms and the flow of rivers decreases.
In addition to Chile, Brazil is also facing a major water crisis.
* With information from Telesur
Edition: Arturo Hartmann