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The berry sector is growing strongly in Spain and the world

The acreage planted with berries in the 2018 campaign in Huelva, a province that accounts for more than 95% of the Spanish production and sales, has grown by 11.12% compared to the previous year, totalling 11,145 hectares, according to data from the Association of Producers and Exporters of Strawberries from Huelva, Freshuelva (an association integrated in FEPEX). This growth, which is also noticeable in the Cantabrian coast, is also being recorded in other important producing countries, such as Argentina, Chile or Peru in the Americas, or Morocco and South Africa in Africa.

Blueberries are one of the berries growing the most. In Huelva, the acreage has increased from 1,150 hectares in the 2013/2014 season to 2,858 hectares in 2017/2018. In the Cantabrian coast, the acreage stands at 400 hectares and the autonomous governments want to promote the expansion of these crops. Specifically, the governments of Asturias and Cantabria have published orders to promote blueberry plantations with subsidies to producers, with production oriented to the period from June to October.

In the international arena, berries, and especially blueberries, are experiencing a major boom in many countries, as outlined in the 3rd Berry Congress, organised by FRESHUELVA in June 2017, and which will take place again this year on 20 and 21 June. In Chile, 103,000 tonnes were exported last year, and Peru expects to be exporting 120,000 tonnes within four years. In Argentina, the domestic blueberry market is expanding, with the acreage having grown from ​​1,900 to 2,100 hectares. Most of the production is exported, with the United States as the main destination, with 65% of the total, and the UK also in a prominent position. On the African continent, South Africa and Morocco are also recording increases in the acreage. And in Europe, Portugal, which had so far been mostly focused on the export of raspberries, is expanding its blueberry acreage.

In Spain, the sector is mainly targeting European markets such as the United Kingdom in order to maintain its growth. The Scandinavian countries are also particularly interesting, as consumers there perceive berries as a healthy product. Efforts are also being made to diversify exports, according to Rafael Domínguez, manager of Freshuelva, and China is one of the destinations considered of interest. In fact, the Ministry of Agriculture and Economy has already been asked to start negotiations for a protocol to allow exports to this country, similar to the one that Chile has already signed with China for the shipment of blueberries. The sector also seeks a greater presence in Arab countries, where blackberries have already started to be exported.

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