Chile Agriculture and Industries

By | December 14, 2021

Agriculture. – The different climatic conditions make it possible to divide Chile into several different cultivation and production regions. Only in the central region the mild climate and the sufficiency of the rains allow a profitable agricultural exploitation. Here, too, three areas can be distinguished. To the north, between Copiapó and Aconcagua, a first zone includes the provinces of Atacama, Coquimbo and Aconcagua, where the scarcity of rainfall makes artificial irrigation necessary. In the center between Santiago and Concepción there is a second area formed by the territories of the provinces of Santiago, Colchagua, Talca, Maule, Ñuble, where the numerous rivers rich in silt (especially those that come from glaciers) allow easy artificial irrigation. In addition, the constant humidity at night facilitates the agricultural activity in this temperate climate zone. The third area located south of the Bío-Bío extends up to noon of the Gulf of Ancud also including the island of Chiloé where, due to the excessive frequency of rains and abundant humidity in all seasons, the cultivation of the soil is not it finds in the most favorable conditions, but livestock breeding thrives instead. According to statistics, the cultivated land reaches 2 million hectares in Chile. For Chile 2004, please check

The fertilization is done not only with nitrates, but also with animal fertilizer. The vastness of the fertile land in central Chile would allow the development of a much greater production if intensive cultivation were practiced. Irrigated land is certain to yield three crops per year, while non-irrigated land yields two or three crops only in the best areas. Land rotation can be done in three and four year periods. Hail, cyclones, floods are almost unknown. The processing system is rather primitive and agricultural machinery is rarely used.

The main product of Chilean agriculture is wheat: 600,000 hectares are sown with “trigo blanco” (triticum vulgare) and 26,952 to “trigo candeal”. The latter is used to make a type of bread very resistant to humidity. The overall production of Chilean wheat is around 7,200,000 quintals (average 1925-1928), with a production of 10-11 quintals per hectare. The second place goes to barley: cultivated 60-70,000 hectares, average annual production of 1,200,000 quintals (1925-1928) with an average yield per hectare of 15-20 quintals. It is mainly used in the north and for the brewing of beer. Corn is grown between Santiago and Nuble, as well as on the Chiloé island where 25,000 hectares are cultivated with a production of 400,000 quintals or 16 quintals per hectare. Between the ranges of maize plants, potatoes and beans are generally planted.

The crops of oats and rye are less important, while a large income is given by the export of legumes, especially beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. Important crops are still millet, tobacco, cotton and linen. The cultivation of the vine is remarkable. The southern limit of the vine is roughly indicated by the course of the Bío-Bío. The surface of the vineyards is very considerable, with a production of wine from 3 to 4 million hectoliters. The irrigated vineyards in the plain between Santiago and Talca cover 15,000 hectares, while the valleys of the coastal range have 30,000 hectares of vineyard cultivated on dry earth (viñedos de rulo). Also profitable is the cultivation of fruit and flowers that are exported to Argentina. Under the 35th parallel, the olive tree appears, of which 1273 hectares were cultivated in 1926.

Industries and trade. – As vast as the Chylene industrial possibilities are, they too have not reached a degree of efficiency corresponding to the needs of the country. Chile is very rich in electricity, especially in the northern and central regions. In the northern regions, the mining industries use internal combustion engines, mostly of North American production. While nitrates and most of the copper are processed and exported in the form of finished products, the attempt to establish iron metallurgy in Chile was unsuccessful. The high wood furnaces of Corral near Valdivia built in the forest area are abandoned. Overall, the manufacturing industries add up to just over 3,000 factories, with 80-90,000 people employed.

The sparsely produced cotton is processed in Chylene factories, while the wool produced in abundance in the country is processed abroad. In 1923 4,000 workers were employed in textile factories.

Chile, very rich in fruit, has about thirty fruit canning factories, employing 1,500 workers. Alongside this industry, dried fruit and dried legumes also thrive.

The Chilean forests give rise to, and better still will, give rise to a substantial industry in the future. Among the most useful woods we will mention alerce, a very light wood, resistant to the action of bad weather and water, widely used for roofing; the rauli used in construction and fine carpentry; the pellín very hard and heavy, used for bridges and railway sleepers. But the main attention of the interested parties is directed to the qualities that can produce cellulose, in view of the development taken by the artificial silk and paper industry. The most widespread and most suitable species are the Chilean pine or araucaria (up to 50 meters high with a diameter of 1.80-2.40 m), widespread on the Nahuelbuta mountain range and in the Andes (between 37 °, 50 ′ And 39 °, 40 ′ lat. S.); the olive tree that grows from Coquimbo to the Strait of Magellan; the quila, a grass with dense branches, which forms impenetrable spots in the chilene woods; the canelo, widespread above all in the southern areas. 707 sawmills operate with a capital of 150 million pesos and with an average effective production of 25 million inches per year (1 inch corresponds to a table of 1 × 10 × 12 feet in size): a part of this production is exported to the neighboring republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and in also starts in Europe.

In Chile there are also four factories for the production of paper and eight for the production of cardboard. The most important plant is the Fabrica de Puente Alto founded in 1921 in Santiago, which can produce 7,000 tons of paper per year and about 200 tons of cardboard. Chilean paper consumption is approximately 22,000 tons per year; for cardboard 2000 tons, for which Chile is forced to import a large quantity of paper especially from Germany, Sweden and Norway. Italy supplies Chile with very fine paper, especially that of the Miliani di Fabriano paper mills, which enjoy a great deal of fame in the republic and supply the government with stamped paper and paper-values.

More than 100 mills work in Chile, employing about 3000 workers; a third of them run on engines, while the others run on electricity.

The tanning and leather processing industry is important but less than its possibilities. The city that centers a large number of tanneries is Valdivia, followed by Santiago, Valparaiso, Concepción, etc. There are about twenty shoe factories.

Foreign liqueurs are known only in large cities. In small towns, only locally produced fruit brandy is widespread. The brewing of beer is also important with about 60 factories and 3500 workers.

The already thriving preserved meat industries are in decline as far as exports are concerned. Tobacco production and processing is very limited although the government applies a small factory duty. The production of glass, porcelain and terracotta is scarce.

Chile Agriculture