“When you see an increase of this magnitude, it’s really because there is much potential. Blueberries have become one of the fruits that currently presents the best business opportunities and very attractive prices, which makes them an excellent export product. The growing demand, the production’s seasonality and its qualities, have allowed this positioning,” said Guillermo Parodi, technical manager of the Vison’s SAC company.
Peruvian blueberry production has grown substantially in recent years. The first trial exports began in 2008, but it was in 2012 when blueberry exports had an unexpected boost. Exports in 2015 surpassed 97 million dollars, and forecasts for this year are that the country could triple these numbers.
Peru has the capacity to produce blueberries throughout the whole year and, therefore, has a constant supply. “The main blueberry production is concentrated from early September through March because it is commercially convenient for us. Peru offers its fruit when the northern hemisphere has no production but still needs it, that is to say we supply a market with a great demand when global supply is reduced,” said the representative of the Peruvian company.
“We enter the market in a season where there are very few producing countries and much demand in the United States and Europe. We allocate 50% of our blueberries for the US and 30% for the UE; the rest is sent to Asia and Central America. Other countries, such as Chile, begin their harvest in November, when we are already amidst our season. The only Latin American country that could be a major competitor against us is Mexico because it can produce almost at the same time as us and because it is getting more market share, especially in the United States,” Parodi stated.
Peru exports the Biloxi blueberry variety, mostly because it is easy to handle in post-harvest and because it has the appropriate size for the blueberry market in this period. “The Biloxi is a bit more acidic, but this is offset by the storage and marketing opportunities it offers. Personally, I think it’s an export variety suited to our reality, and it is a variety that the European and North American markets accept. In the short term, I do not think we’ll change varieties; we would have to conduct many tests before we do,” he added.
Even though China is an important export market for the vast majority of Peruvian products, Peru still hasn’t positioned its blueberries in the Chinese market. However, together with the development of organic blueberries, it is within this year’s marketing expansion plan. “China is a market that is still growing, so we are promoting our blueberries in this market. Organic Blueberries are the the next alternative we are working on. We are organizing things to obtain the necessary certifications that will allow us to enter the organic trade of this fruit, and refining our processes to improve production and export process,” Parodi concluded.
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San Isidro Lima – Perú
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Publication date: 3/31/2016
Author: Carlos P Poggio