current situation in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina
Peach production is of great economic importance in the Southern Cone of South America, having gone through great technological changes since its introduction during the time of Spanish and Portuguese colonies. The evolution of this crop has been determined by edaphoclimatic peculiarities, as well as by the culture and economy of each country. The aim of this work is to summarize in one document the current situation and the specific characteristics of peach growing in Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina. Technology incorporation, in all its different aspects, has made it possible to increase yields, so production has remained at the same level despite the reduction of the planted area. Also, a process of upscaling and concentration has been taking place, even though peach production characteristics keep making it especially suited for small growers. Great efforts have been made through universities and research institutes to develop local knowledge useful for growers and with potential of great impact not only for them, but at regional level as well. The importance of genetic material for the success of the production system is paramount and strategies of developing cultivars with adaptation to local conditions have been embraced by the region, thus having a growing offer of new cultivars generated by local breeding programs. The integrated production approach is being generally applied, and alternative production systems that minimize or don’t use synthetic agrochemicals at all are being developed in many production areas. The planting density has been increased and the training and pruning systems are evolving towards simpler ones and prone to mechanization. Challenges to improve sustainability are many, but the belief among research groups on the capability to continue generating and making available technology and solutions for a broader and better availability of Prunus fruits on the consumers’ table is also high.
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