The blueberry industry of Chile are closely watching their neighbours in Peru, which now has 52% lower volumes compared to the same period last season. The Chileans are concerned that Peru’s delayed peak will fall very close to their own during January.
Picture credit: Frusan
According to Isabel Quiroz, executive director of iQonsulting, the market analysts, Peru’s blueberry volumes are now expected to be between 30-40% lower this season due to the delays following the warmer climate brought about by El Niño, but the delay in Peru is the most concerning for them.
“Peru hopes to have a delayed peak, which could fall pretty near to start of the Chilean peak. Peru’s peak is likely to be over weeks 48 to 50, when they could still have large volumes that arrive at the same time as Chile’s peak during January. We have to be careful about the total volume arriving to the markets, so more than ever, we have to export only what the world markets are willing to pay. The call to producers is that not all blueberries are of the needed quality to be exported,” states Quiroz. Chile’s blueberry committee expects 82,000 tons to be exported with an increase in new varieties
A large blueberry producer in Peru, who also produces avocado and citrus said the warmer weather has affected all their crops. “For us the season will last longer but definitely we will not catch up to our first expected projections and we will end up with about 25% less until March 2024. El Niño affected all of our orchards, in avocados the dry matter of the fruit was heterogeneous in the same tree and was difficult to measure. In mandarins we had a four weeks delay to the start of the harvest because the fruit did not get enough cold to turn colour earlier. Our asparagus is affected by slim calibers and blueberries are affected by lower volumes and there are varieties which will now start production with a three months delay where the early pruning for the early harvest didn’t take place.”
Picture credit: Perù MCFruits EIRL
The producer said the improving prices in key markets are much needed now that they have lower volumes. “The prices in the US and EU market have been improving and it is very important that they remain that way to finally mark up with the lower offer available. Otherwise it will be a complete disaster worse than the last season. The industry is having a tough time right now with adverse factors we can’t control but we count on our customers with the strategy done together in the segmentation of fruits to do its best and defend prices as well as possible to arrive as close as possible to our projected results.”
He said their focus this year in Madrid was to move closer to their customers to support each other in these trying times. “We see that a more selective partnership consolidation between grower and customer is taking place. It is very important to keep the high level of professionalism and support each other by sharing and have the same values to encourage current and future adverse situations that may come and be good as partners for mutual business objectives.”