How Chile’s Cherry Farms Are Using Green Technologies to Prepare Themselves for Climate Change

October 18, 2023

In Chile’s pastoral landscapes, two agricultural ventures face increasing challenges from unpredictable weather, water scarcity and rising temperatures. As a result, their businesses are affected and their livelihoods are also threatened. WIPO GREEN helps these farmers adapt to climate change by connecting their needs with relevant green technology providers. Through this process, farmers hope to reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy, improve their yields and become more resilient to the effects of climate change. But this challenge is not unique to Chile. As climate change intensifies, farmers around the world must adapt their practices.

Farms are at the forefront of the climate crisis

Cristian Hernandez Carrillo manages cherry orchards in Osorno, Chile. His region faces considerable climatic adversities: unpredictable hailstorms, extreme winds and heavy rains. Further north in Chile’s Malloa commune, fruit exporter Agricola Tambo is dealing with its own climate-induced challenges. For Cristobal Valentin Morales, the farm’s administrator, each year brings less rain. What happens in Osorno and Malloa reverberates beyond the local communities. Many farms and Vineyards In Chile, for example, they moved south in search of more rain in response to changing climates. But farmers are now discovering that Chile’s southern regions don’t even exist immunity to the effects of climate change.

Cherry orchard Agricola Tambo in Malloa Rainfall has decreased over the past few years at the cherry orchard Agricola Tambo in Malloa, Chile. (Photo: Courtesy of IALE Technology)

The problem goes beyond weather variations. Adapting to climate change is difficult in an industry that operates on slim margins and is in a bad season from financial risk. Morales knows that the water pumps on his farm, which run from October to March to grow cherry trees, account for a large portion of their annual electricity bill. But the quality of the cherries cannot be compromised.

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Orchards in Osorno are facing their own financial problems as increasingly strong winds tear through protective covering systems designed to protect the precious cherries. „The production of late cherries in the southern part of Chile (Osorno) started as an attractive commercial alternative with good income for the producers. However, the quality and condition of the fruit is affected due to the climatic conditions of rain, wind and solar radiation, resulting in low income for the producers. As a result, the profit decreases. ” said external consultant Ramiro Poplade. I will hide itWIPO GREEN is an agricultural cooperative that connects consultants with cherry orchards.

WIPO SEES GREEN SOLUTIONS

Funded as part of WIPO GREEN’s Latin America Acceleration Program Funds-in-Trust Japan IP Global Implemented in collaboration with Chile’s National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI). IALE Technology, a private consulting firm, connected Agricola Tambo with Tesla Energy. Agricola Tambo wants to implement technology that will save energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint, while maintaining the quality of its cherries. Tesla Energy brings to the table its know-how in solar energy solutions, and IALE Technology serves as technical agents, facilitating interactions and communication and expectations among all parties involved. The proposed solution is effective and simple: replace electric irrigation pumps with solar-powered pumps.

In Osorno, WIPO GREEN facilitated a partnership with VOEN, a German company specializing in premium wind-resistant agricultural covering systems. A primary requirement of a cherry farm is protection against climate-induced problems such as fruit splitting, flower loss and plant diseases, which result in low product quality and yield loss. Using its local business operations in Chile, VOEN designed canopy technology to protect fruit quality from these climate-related setbacks, enabling the development of its export-focused fruit farming. Once installed, these covering systems protect the fruit from the strong winds and hailstorms that frequently affect the region.

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„VOEN covering systems will easily adapt to the structure Christian currently uses in his cherry orchards. The self-venting covering system will allow the cherry crop to produce its maximum potential in terms of yield and quality,” says Roberto Joho, a representative of VOEN who visited the cherry farm in Osorno.

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A structure that protects cherries from strong winds. (Photo: Thanks VOEN)

A financial knot

The solutions are promising, but while the technologies seem within reach, implementation is hampered by financial constraints. Initial investments in green technologies, especially for small operations, can be prohibitively high. This adds a new layer of complexity to an already complex problem: how to ensure that financial systems evolve in tandem with environmental needs.

Chile’s global position as a fruit exporting powerhouse magnifies the relevance and importance of addressing its domestic problems. Efforts to adapt to a changing climate in Osorno and Malloa have implications far beyond Chile’s borders. While these Chilean companies await investments that could create global models for sustainable agriculture, their predicament highlights a world at an economic and environmental inflection point. Their fight isn’t just about preventing local disasters, it’s about rewriting the rulebook that represents smart, long-term investing.

IALE Technology is working with INAPI and WIPO GREEN to establish funding mechanisms for both technologies. An application for funding has been filed with the National Agricultural Fund in Chile for the technology used in Mallowa. For Tesla Energy, the current strategy is to pursue a direct lease model, following an evaluation of several options. These collaborative efforts and strategic financing approaches will be instrumental in driving sustainable agricultural and energy solutions for the region.

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Cristian Hernandez Carrillo (right) with VOEN representative (left) (Photo: Courtesy of Roberto Joho, VOEN)

If Agricola Tambo can go solar and Osorno can protect its cherries, maybe agriculture Vietnam Water scarcity and cocoa farmers can be alleviated Ghana Can adapt to rising temperatures. WIPO GREEN acts as a catalyst and its matchmaking activities create a blueprint for a replication model. As a platform, WIPO GREEN is preparing itself for the future. The database is regularly updated, accessible worldwide, and serves as an expanding resource for green innovation. As climate change intensifies, connections facilitated by WIPO can accelerate the sharing of technologies and adaptation strategies, and help farms around the world become more resilient. After all, climate change recognizes no borders, and neither should the fight against it.

The struggle of these orchards is, in many ways, a struggle the world over: balancing immediate economic needs against the long-term viability of life on a warming planet. It’s a delicate balance, but as these Chilean farms show, it’s not impossible. Their journey underscores the essence of investing in climate adaptation technologies – not just for profit, but for survival. In the alarming ledger of climate change, this is an entry worth making.

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