Slow start to Chilean blueberry season

The Chilean blueberry season has been progressing slowly, with the harvest picking up a bit more in Region IV. In Region V the rhythm continues moderately, although greater activity is expected in Week 44 (October 28 through November 3). The Central Zone and South Central Zone are beginning the season with harvests of their early varieties, most especially berries produced under tunnels.

Temperatures continue to get warmer, with the exception of the Northern Zone where daily maximum temperatures dropped a bit during Week 42. If things remain as they are, harvest and export volumes will increase notably during the second half of November, once production from the Central and South Central Zones comes into play. This means that high volume exports should begin during Week 48, when some 4,000 tons are expected to be shipped out.

Meanwhile, markets continue to be undersupplied with estimates from Argentine production now lowered because of bad weather during Week 41, lowering 2013/14 estimated export totals to 11,000 tons. This, together with the slow beginning of the Chilean blueberry deal, means importers are in need of fruit to make optimal use of air transport arrangements through Week 48 so that transit time is reduced and more fruit can be taken to market.

Export volumes increased during Week 42 due to greater harvesting in Region IV. 92 tons were exported, all by air. Of this amount, 60 tons were sent to the U.S. and 20 tons to the Far East. Total berry exports to date amount to 167 tons, a number slightly greater than last season, when only 130 tons had been exported. Still, during the 2010-2011 season, blueberry exports totaled 206 tons by this same date, which showcases the slow start-up we have seen the past several seasons in Chile’s deal.

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