Peru has gone from exporting 12,000 tons of blueberries in the 2015/2016 season to more than 150,000 tons in the 2020/2021 season, surpassing 1 billion dollars. These figures position the country as the main exporter of blueberries in the world. According to Luis Miguel Vegas, the general manager of the Association of Blueberry Producers of Peru (Proarandanos), the country expects to increase its sales volume by up to 30% in the next campaign (2021/2022).
In addition to being an important source of revenue for the country, blueberry cultivation has allowed generating more than 100,000 direct jobs, mainly occupied by women, in the 2020/2021 campaign. Vegas stressed that these achievements were due to the professionalism of operations and investments.
He said that in 2016 there were only 2,300 hectares of blueberries in Peru, a number that increased to 13,600 hectares in 2020, and that is projected will grow to 15,000 hectares by the end of this year.
He also highlighted the rapid response of the Peruvian industry to meet the changing market demand. In 2016 Peru had 13 varieties of blueberries registered for export and the Biloxi variety stood out, as it accounted for 58% of the total hectares. However, at the end of 2020, the country had 46 registered varieties. The Biloxi continues to be the most important variety, but its participation has decreased to 39% of the total.
“Producers are looking for new varieties, they are always committed to having a better product that meets the demands of consumers who are increasingly more informed. You can have a delicious fruit but the challenge is to maintain its condition when it reaches the destination markets, which are increasingly farther away. The way Peruvian producers approach the varietal and operational issues have allowed Peru to position itself as a leader in this crop worldwide," he stated.