The Chilean Blueberry Committee-Asoex has presented the first harvest estimate for the 2020/2021 season. Andres Armstrong, the executive director of the committee, said that blueberry exports were expected to reach 154,050 tons this season. Of this quantity, a total of 111,550 tons will correspond to fresh blueberries, i.e. 2% more than in the last season, while the remaining 42,500 tons will correspond to frozen blueberries (+ 1.2%).
“We project that this new season's fresh blueberry export volumes will be very similar to those of the last three seasons. As an industry, we are focused on prioritizing quality in our exports, which means we'll continue our work throughout the whole chain, from the producer to the end customer,” Armstrong said.
It's worth noting that in the 2019-2020 season, within the framework of the celebration of the Committee's 10 years of existence, the Chilean Blueberry Committee started to implement the Blueberry Committee's Quality System , which is based on 5 fundamental pillars: the correct selection of varieties, proper pre-harvest, harvest, and post-harvest handling of the fruit, and the verification of the finished product based on quality standards that are up to date with market requirements.
The implementation of this quality system can be seen, for example, in the increase in exports of new varieties, as well as in the varietal replacement within the sector.
Another positive aspect of this new season is that there is greater availability of water, as a result of the last rains in the country, especially in the V, VI, and VII regions.
Regarding the coronavirus, the committee indicated that they would implement all the necessary safeguards to guarantee the health of everybody involved in the supply chain.
“The number one priority is people's health. That's why the corresponding protocols are already being implemented. It is a challenge, but we are sure that we must maintain a consistent supply to our markets, just as other fruit species in Chile have done. Blueberries adjust very well to the new requirements of consumers, who are favoring fresh fruits and foods that help them improve their immune system and strengthen their health," Armstrong said.
Finally, Armstrong stressed that they expected US authorities would make the final publication of the System Approach for the export of blueberries from Ñuble and Biobio by the end of September. “The System Approach will simplify the export process to the US and it will bring new opportunities for organic blueberry producers in these regions," he concluded.