IBO summit:

Mexico presents serious blueberry potential

A record number of delegates at the International Blueberry Organization’s (IBO) fourth summit heard how Mexico is gaining increasing relevance within the industry. Mexico has the potential to be a game changer within the global blueberry business on account of its long season, innovative growers, new varieties and proximity to the huge counter-seasonal market of the U.S.

That was just one of the take-home messages from the International Blueberry Organization's (IBO) fourth annual summit, held this week in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“Mexico is raising expectations and will change the landscape for the North American market by putting pressure on local late season production,” Cort Brazelton, Director of Business Development & International Business at Fall Creek Farm & Nursery told delegates at the packed meeting.

Dave Brazelton from Fall Creek Farms
During a roundtable discussion moderated by Mario Steta, Driscoll’s general manager for Mexico, the audience heard how blueberry production in Mexico could quadruple within the next couple of years, up from just under 10,000 metric tons in 2014.

Matt Blechman, Blueberry Development Manager at Reiter Affiliated Companies, explained how Mexico benefits from a number of resources that could seal its success as a major supplier, such as its climate, soils and people, in addition to water and labour availability.

However, as the industry consolidates its expansion, Francisco Ortiz and Sergio Vargas, owners and partners of Mexican supplier Berries Paradise, stressed that the sector must keep the end consumer at the centre of any decisions. All roundtable participants also emphasized the importance of developing the domestic Mexican market as a viable and competitive alternative sales channel by educating consumers about the benefits of blueberries.

IBO chairman Andre Armstrong

The event also provided a unique platform from which to reveal the production projections for each of the world’s major blueberry supply nations. "Every country representative spoke about rising production in their nation. China was the most optimistic about its future growth and it was a nice surprise to learn about the positive developments in Portugal," noted Andre Armstrong, chairman of IBO. "Production is growing in line with the expansion of blueberry consumption all over the world. Asia has the highest rates of consumption and eastern Europe is developing too," Armstrong added.

Other discussions focused on finding new alternatives for generating, gathering and distributing information about blueberries, as well as examining the latest information on pests and health research.

Ines Masallach of Imalinx

All of the speaker presentations from this year's event will be made available for IBO members to download from the organization's website.

For more information:
Nolwenn Gingat
International Blueberry Organization
Tel: +56 (2) 2717 1114
Email: info@internationalblueberry.org

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