The Peruvian blueberry continues to conquer the world market
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Peru expects blueberry exports to increase by 28% next year. Over 285,000 tons are expected to be shipped. The country became in 10 years, Juliette Chaignon, the world’s first exporter of blueberries.
From our correspondent in Lima, Julia Chaignon
This year is another record for Peru. Second largest blueberry producer in the world behind the United States. Peru also maintains its position as the world’s leading exporter. This export market represents more than a billion dollars. Half of the exports go to the United States, a quarter to Europe and almost 10% to China.
More than a third of the blueberry production in Peru is managed by large fruit groups from the South American continent. For an estimated total production of 300,000 tons of fruit next season. A far cry from the results of ten years ago, when only 30 tons of blueberries were harvested each year.
An excellent return but a falling sale price
The blueberry industry owes a lot to Carlos Gereda, the founder of Inka’s Berries in 2009. Inspired by his Chilean neighbors, the entrepreneur tested several varieties before selecting 4 for Peru. Then to create new ones, adapted to the local climate. This climate is one of the country’s strengths compared to its North American competitors. Blueberries are grown here at any time of the year. And the yield is excellent: 13 tons per hectare in Peru versus 8 in the United States.
About thirty countries buy Peruvian blueberries. This summer, for example, Jordan and Israel received the first deliveries. India also bought its first 23 tons of blueberries from Peru last year. But the selling price is falling, partly because of new blueberry producers entering the world market. The kilo is currently selling below the $5 mark.
Other challenges for the Peruvian blueberry: Increasing transport costs, especially by boat. And if Peru is to maintain its position as the number one exporter in the years to come, it is imperative that this water-intensive and drought-sensitive blueberry crop become more sustainable.