Colombia increases blueberry exports to the US

Colombia has increased its agricultural exports in 2019. Up until July of this year, they increased 3.2% in value, reaching 591.9 million dollars, and 9% in volume with 399,700 tons shipped, compared to the same period of 2018. 2.5% of total international sales made in 2018 corresponded to fruits, amounting to $1.057 billion dollars, according to Analdex.

One of the products that generated better expectations is the blueberry, which currently does not have a strong position in the country's exports, but whose global sales have grown by more than 17%, according to Trademap. The United States, the world's leading importer of the fruit, took in more than $950 million worth. That's why Colombia will increase its export of fresh blueberries under cold treatment to the United States.

According to the Dian (Colombia's National Tax and Customs Office), in 2018 the country sold blueberries to the United States for US $6,295.

In the next four years, the export potential of this fruit could exceed 100 million dollars, according to Proplantas, a Colombian importer and marketer of strawberry, blueberry, and other berry plants.

According to a study by Asocolblue (Colombian Association of Blueberries) and Proplantas, there are currently around 400 hectares of blueberries sown in the country, distributed between Cundinamarca and Boyaca. The study also states that there could be more than 1,000 hectares within two years.

"While we know that the investment in blueberry crops is high, there are several Chilean and North American investors who are betting on the fruit with a view to export, so the country is going to be part of the top 10 world's largest exporters of blueberries in about five years,” stated Camilo Lozano, president of Asocolblue.

According to Proplantas projections, 870 new hectares will be planted and some 7,700 tons will be produced between 2019 and 2020. They also forecast that the 100 million dollar export barrier could be overcome by 2022.

Last year the Colombian fruit arrived in Chile, the Netherlands, Panama, the United States, and Aruba.

In 2017, world imports of fresh blueberries reached 2.729 billion dollars and grew by 8.3%. Apart from being the world's largest producer, the United States is the largest importer, buying 35.5% of blueberries from the international market. It is followed by the United Kingdom with 12.4% and the Netherlands with 8.7%. According to Comtrade, the top five exporters worldwide are Chile (29.62%), Spain (12.47%), Peru (10.37%), the Netherlands (8.49%) and the United States (8.39 %).



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