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Ecuador: Blueberry cultivation up 100% in the last two years

Producers, university students, teachers, and businessmen are participating today in the International Seminar on the Production and Export of Blueberries in Quito, which is organized by the consulting company Global Forum.

The growing demand for this fruit in Ecuador caused investors to focus on a product that, besides being quite profitable, has extensive nutritional characteristics that benefit health.

The cultivation of blueberries in the country has increased by 100% over the past two years, according to Patricio Ñacato, the manager of Ecuarandano, the pioneer company in the production of blueberries in the country.

Sebastian Muñoz, the manager of Global Forum, said that studying this fruit's planting, cultivation, pruning, and understanding the behavior of the markets for this fruit was indispensable for producers and entrepreneurs looking to start in this business.

Patricio Ñacato stated that production began in 2015 with the acquisition of plants for testing, of the Biloxi variety, which were brought from the United States. Once they verified that the blueberries adapted to the Ecuadorian climate and soil, they started a second phase, in which they multiplied the plants, and then they promoted the crop among producers. During this process, the agronomic management of the plant was meticulous to adapt it to the conditions of the environment.

Blueberry is a species native to the northern and southern hemispheres, but the influence of the luminosity in the equatorial line improved the fruit's characteristics.

Profitability favors producers
The high sale price and low supply there is of this product make cultivating it quite profitable for entrepreneurs. The initial investment is around US $40,000 per hectare. However, producers are able to recover this amount in the first year. The investment covers the cost of the plants and infrastructure (soil conditioning or greenhouse implementation, irrigation systems, etc.).

In the first year of life, each plant produces around 800 grams (g) of fruit. In the second year production will rise to 1,500 g.

Currently, a kilogram of blueberry costs around $12. Ñacato said that, since it is a relatively new fruit in the country, and since it has a considerable demand, producers are able to sell all of their production. 

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