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Peru: Blueberry exports to exceed US $1 billion in 2021

The general manager of Terra Business SAC, Federico Beltran Molina, said that in 2016 Peruvian blueberry exports amounted to nearly US $ 250 million and that the outlook was that by 2021 they would exceed US $ 1 billion.

Beltran Molina also said that Peru currently exported more than 24,000 tons of blueberries which was expected to rise to 120,000 by 2021.

"This important growth is very positive because it generates many jobs," he said.

He then stated that the country was very peaceful due to agriculture. "These are the businesses that are generating tranquility in Peru and this grants many people the opportunity to substantially improve their quality of life," he said.

He added that the good results obtained in the producing regions, such as in Ica, Trujillo and Olmos, where there is zero unemployment, suggests that this reality can be extended to more regions. "We need more blueberries and more species like blueberries."

In that sense, he emphasized that, since Peru has a good reputation for respecting intellectual property (patented varieties), the country has the opportunity to receive new genetics from other species, as is happening.

According to Beltran, one of the challenges that the Peruvian blueberry industry will have to face, is exporting the more than 120 thousand tons that the country will ship in 4 or 5 years in an orderly manner.

"One thing is the commercial window and another thing is that window's absorption capacity. Studies have indicated that delivering 10 thousand tons of fresh produce per week is the best way to move that volume, so we must work to fine tune our deliveries per week," he said.

He also said that the dispatches of Peru's offer were very concentrated in the months of September and October; but that they were already making shipments in January-March and there was a tendency to stretch that window. 

"The ideal is to concentrate perhaps 60% or 70% of the harvest between September and November, and then to ship the rest in the following months. If we are consistent the importers will continue to rely on us for much of the Southern Hemisphere season," he said.

Mexico, the competition
The general manager of Terra Business SAC said that the September to October trade window was traditionally exploited by Mexico, which is emerging as the main competitor of Peruvian blueberries.

"In time, our blueberry production will be equal to that of Uruguay, Argentina, and even Chile. However, there is a country that has similar or superior conditions to the ones we have to take advantage of the opportunities of the blueberry sector, and that country is Mexico," he said.

He said that Mexico was very close (two days by truck) to the United States, one of the largest blueberry markets, and that they also had the ideal temperatures for production (the minimum temperature is 4 degrees) and had many lands to cultivate this crop (the sowing of blueberries is very active in Michoacán, Jalisco and Baja California).

"Blueberry consumption in the markets is very active and it is growing at an average rate of 10%. The product is fashionable all over the world and there is no way to stop the increase in consumption. The market will continue to grow, but this also means that there will be greater supply of this product and prices will decrease," he concluded.

Federico Beltran spoke about his view of the blueberry sector in the 7th International Seminar: Peru and the Blueberry Industry, (defining strategies to access new markets), which was organized by Blueberries Consulting.

Peru currently has around 3,800 hectares planted with blueberries. The region with the largest area devoted to this product is La Libertad.


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