Last month, the European sales office of the Chilean berry producer Carsol in Maasdijk was strengthened with Roberto Latorre, Gerwin van Bergen Walraven and Harro van Dam. "We are a specialist in blueberries, both conventional and organic. We control the entire chain, so our customers are able to do business directly with the production sector," says Horacio Ozer Ami.
"In general, Chile is expecting a good season, since the hail damage recorded in mid-November has had a limited impact on the start of the campaign," says Horacio. "The most affected region is O'Higgins, but there is relatively little blueberry production here, and in regions with more blueberry crops, such as Maule, the impact hasn’t been that great. In the areas that have been hit, the early varieties are the ones affected, which will have an impact mostly on the shipments of weeks 50 to 2. The total damage is estimated less than 4,200 tons. "
Cultivation in Chile, Peru and Portugal
Carsol has its own blueberry production almost all year round. "In addition to our production in Chile, this year we also have fruit from Peru for the first time, with acreage totaling nearly 600 hectares, and next year we expect the first harvest from Portugal, where the production is divided into 2 areas, with more than 400 hectares purchased. Total CarSol Blueberry acreage, own farms worldwide will be around 1200 hectares at the end of 2019," says Horacio. The grower has no plans yet to expand the range further. "Besides kiwifruit and blueberries, we currently have no plans to expand our range, but of course, we don’t rule anything out for the future."
Although Chile is selling plenty of blueberries in new markets, Horacio says that availability on the European market is not yet threatened. "Our customers in the Middle East are supplied from Chile. The demand from these markets is increasing, but so far, this has had no impact on the volumes available for Europe."
Chain with as few links as possible
When asked what the big advantage is for an overseas producer to open a European sales office in the Netherlands, Horacio replies: "Retailers and producers like to do business with each other directly and build a chain that consists of as few links as possible. With a product like blueberries, it is very desirable to be able to be flexible with the daily orders and the packaging. It is also good to be present at a local level, to see what’s going on at the various retailers and to take action based on this knowledge."
"Our goal to be blueberries specialist 52 weeks supply is already achieved this year. In addition to the office, we also have our own sorting and packaging line (including heat seal) in the Netherlands. We import fruit in bulk to the Netherlands and pack it in as short a time as possible before shipment." We are able to offer any commercial packaging format to our customers," says Horacio.