Cristián Allendes is an innovative and experienced farmer with a life-long vision to “produce more with less”. His fields are located in a privileged area of central Chile, with a Mediterranean climate and fertile soils that allow for the harvest of tasty and quality fruits. He is recognized in the area as a leader in the implementation of modern agricultural techniques, with a strong commitment to the environment and his workers.
Part of the success of the Santa Inés farm is due to its distinctive design of high-density planting. Cristián Allendes knows that one of the future’s great challenges will be to feed the growing population with less arable land, and this method adapts to that reality. The system allows for between 2.5 and 4 times more plants per hectare than in a traditional orchard and achieves production quickly. Good fertilization is also a critical part of improving productivity and reducing the use of natural resources. To help accomplish this, a drip irrigation system has been incorporated on the farm, which controls and distributes the necessary amount of fertilizers, avoiding the contamination of surface waters. A weather station on the farm allows Allendes to monitor temperature, humidity and wind speed (among other factors) in real-time, and thus collect climate data to make timely decisions on the use of crop protection products – help ensure crops are protected in a way that is safe for people and the environment. Farm workers participate regularly in training to improve standards in handling and safe use of products and machinery.
Farm name and location: Calera de Tango, near Santiago, Chile.
History: Agrícola La Hornilla Ltda. was established in 1986 in Melipilla and grew to include Fundo Santa Inés in 2012. Today, Cristián manages the fields with his children, Cristián Jr. and Benjamín.
Farm Size: 158 hectares.
Primary crops: Table grapes, cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines and sunflowers.
Our central mission is to produce more with less, in a sustainable way, to meet our goal of exporting 90% of our production. By the year 2050, global food production will need to double due to population growth, and we will have to achieve this with the same — or even less — farm land. Therefore, we are obliged to increase productivity per hectare and use our resources in a very responsible way. To do this, we must innovate and introduce new technology without sacrificing quality, and train our workers properly.
Farmer and manager of Santa Inés farm, belonging to Agrícola La Hornilla
Biodiversity is essential for agricultural production. Although one third of the crops that are fundamental to humans are pollinated by bees, there are many other wild pollinator species that also contribute to this task. On the Santa Inés farm, concrete measures have been taken to enrich the habitat of pollinators, improve their diet and help them proliferate, including sowing 1,000 square meters with rows of various wildflower species, such as bloomers – a mix of 30 species of annual and perennial flowers – to ensure that pollinators have food throughout the year.