Chile will send 20,000 kilos of blueberries to the Asian market

There is no doubt that blueberries are a very popular fruit in various markets in the world. In this context, five businessmen from the towns of Illawarra and Salamanca, grouped in Blueberries Choapa, winner of Sercotec's Market Development Initiatives (IDM), managed to establish contacts with Asia, in the context of a commercial tour.

But this is only the first step, as there are other goals in the framework of the IDM, such as replacing varieties with new generation plantations, which have a better performance in production, water efficiency and post harvest life than the traditional varieties.

In this context, it's important that the product achieves a good flavour and appearance, since these are two aspects that are greatly valued on the Asian market.

Blueberry growers from the province of Choapa drew positive conclusions from this commercial tour. Jorge Esquivel, manager of Agricola Los Silos, a company which is part of this associative project, said, "There is a lot of eagerness in Asia to receive good quality fruit. The blueberry is a relatively new product for them, but it is rather special, as it requires specific characteristics. We noted that they want it to taste good, at an acceptable calibre that is above 14 mm. Something we can produce in our current conditions," he said.

The commercial tour to Asia was so positive that some Asian entrepreneurs visited the Blueberry fields in Choapa in order to verify the product's quality in the field and to adjust critical points in the production process, which will help producers improve their production. "Our intention is to create a varietal replacement together, so we're really excited," said Esquivel, as carrying out this replacement costs $ 40,000 dollars per hectare, which can be difficult to do on their own. Otherwise replacing those varieties can only be done gradually. At the moment, they are already working on the logistics of their first shipment of 20,000 kilos of blueberries to Asia in November. "Whilst it's not much for the industry, it does represents between 10% and 15 % of our production," he said.

Although these entrepreneurs prefer to be cautious, they know that the key to success is to focus on improving continuously.

Alberto Abarca, an executive from Sercotec in charge of the IDM program, said "It is a tool that enables and empowers business associations seeking access to new markets in new destinations".

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