Why are raspberries so important to the Peruvian agricultural industry? There are several factors, but the main reason is that it would help diversify the Peruvian export basket (something that becomes more urgent when we look at the problems avocados are already facing due to saturation). Most importantly, it would be a realistic alternative for small producers that don't have a large capital to invest, like in the blueberry sector.
Felipe Rosas, a spokesperson for the Rconsulting Group, highlighted these aspects and added that the same customers who currently buy Peruvian blueberries would be interested in acquiring the raspberries produced in Peru.
"All the companies that import blueberries from Peru are going to want Peruvian raspberries. The people who buy blueberries buy blackberries in Mexico, strawberries in Spain, and fresh raspberry in Peru. They can make a basket with the different products so that consumers can compare them; it's something consumers like a lot," he stated.
To give an idea of the magnitude of the business, the specialist said that worldwide blueberry production amounted to nearly 700 thousand tons, while raspberry production stood at 600 thousand tons, mainly due to the demand there is for fresh raspberries (it is also sold in frozen and processed, but the markets for these varieties are smaller and more complicated). He also stated that a single producer, such as Mexico, produces 130 thousand tons of raspberries.
In that line, Rosas said that Peru's Jorge Chavez International Airport was an important asset for the business, as it is an excellent hub that is only 5 and a half hours away from Miami (gateway to the United States) and less than 10 hours away from England (another important market that pays very well), which guarantees that the fruit will arrive in perfect conditions. Transfers by sea are not available yet because technology still does not allow it.
To take advantage of this possibility, he said, the country needs to improve its connectivity and mobilize small producers to make use of the Peruvian highlands, with the support from the Government and in association with the private sector, as this territory is where there is the most poverty in the country.
The spokesman also advised producers not to ignore the domestic market, as the cities of the interior of the country have grown and become more modern in recent decades, driving an increase in the percentage of fruit purchases.