According to information from sources within the North American blueberry industry, Europe, Asia and other markets are making attractive offers for Chilean blueberry shipments, although they also assure that US importers, retailers and consumers should not fear a lack of this fruit for the winter.
"American importers are certainly competing for Chilean fruit with emerging markets," said Tom Tjerandsen, general director for North America of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), adding that "Chilean exporters have assured us that they wish to maintain their long business relationship with North America."
One of the reasons why they would wish to maintain it, explained Tjerandsen, is because Chilean producers plan to continue boosting production.
"Producers are expanding, with new varieties in new areas," he added.
In late September, the earliest blueberry production areas in north Chile started producing light volumes, said Tom Richardson, general manager of Giumarra in Wenatchee, Washington.
And these were not headed north, he said.
"The majority of them are shipped exclusively to Asia," stated Richardson, adding that Japan is still not in a position to accept Argentinian blueberries. As a result, the Chilean produce is being used to fill this gap.
Japan, said Giumarra's representative, is offering great deals to Chilean exporters, which they surely are unable to refuse.
"Fruit is being shipped there at really high prices," he said.