Blueberry producers from Mesopotamia, Argentina, are starting to plan for the 2020 harvest after the security measures taken by the country to face the pandemic are relaxed and the country enters a 'new normal' phase.
The harvest of the early varieties in Entre Rios and Corrientes will begin starting August. Producers are currently working on the 2020 harvest protocol together with specialists to guarantee compliance with the measures imposed by the national government.
Alejandro Pannunzio, president of the Association of Blueberry Producers of Mesopotamia Argentina (APAMA), stated that the sector faced an unexpected problem, as the country had suspended flights until September 1.
"We are facing the same uncertainty as all sectors. In addition, we won't have flights until September and we have a harvest of exportable scoop that is always shipped by air. Our concern is solving this issue, otherwise exporting it would be nearly impossible to export these small volumes that are shipped on passenger flights,” the producer stated.
“Most of the cargo is sent in the free space there is on passenger flights. However, if these flights are canceled, it will be very difficult to find that place. In addition, some airlines have announced that they are leaving the country and that reduces frequency options," he added.
“We are making efforts at all levels but it's difficult to find a solution because nobody in the world really knows how this situation is going to evolve. We are working on an agreement with Aerolineas Argentinas to see if we can collaborate and send some fruit to our export destinations in the empty flights that are being used to return people to Argentina.”
Consumption grows due to the pandemic
Faced with global uncertainty, there is one sure thing: fruit consumption has increased worldwide. The Blueberry is being reevaluated, especially in the United States, a country that has 300 million inhabitants and an average per capita consumption of 800 grams of blueberries per year.
“A fruit trade expert from California confirmed his presence in the APAMA Conference, which will be held virtually in August. This expert already told us they expect blueberry consumption in the US will grow because people value the fruit's antioxidants. Another of the exhibitors at the conference, Juan Gonzalez, told us from Belgium that fruit consumption had grown 13% so far this year. In other words, there is going to be a market. The question now is what price will consumers be able to pay,” he concluded.
Source: Simon Stopol, ProducePay. April 2020
For more information: