The executive director of Frutas de Chile's Blueberry Committee, Andrés Armstrong, presented the new export estimate for this season. The entity, in collaboration with iQonsulting, has revised the export forecast for the current season. The new forecast was communicated to the industry in their Crop Report.
“It's been particularly difficult to forecast this season's exports because the weather conditions have slowed the harvest, concentrating the peak season in a few weeks, and making the end of the season longer than last season. Thus, we now expect to export around 80,000 tons of blueberries, i.e. 8.5% less than last season. This volume is very close to the 82,000 tons projected at the beginning of the season but higher than the last update of the forecast, which stood at 73,500 tons. We'll end the season with a better varietal mix and better fruit quality. That has helped us to improve our competitiveness in the destination markets," Armstrong stated.
He also stressed that air shipments have increased by about 200% this season, which is a clear sign that supply has been limited while demand for this product has been good for a few weeks.
The season's peak and markets
According to Armstrong, up to week 3 of the 2023-2024 campaign, the country exported a total of 61,664 tons of blueberries, i.e. 15.6% less than in the same period of last season.
The US continues to be the main market with imports of about 24,000 tons, followed by Europe, Canada, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, in that order. Europe and Latin America have experienced the most notable growth.
"Chilean fresh blueberry exports peaked and the export volumes were above estimates. Weekly volumes should decrease from week 4-2024," he said.
The harvest in central Chile, the largest blueberry growing area, is about to end, he added. “This area is delivering the volumes for the peak period. An average of 8,885 tons per week were shipped between week 50 and week 3. The largest volumes were shipped in week 51 and week 2, but that was because of a reprogramming of the ships from the previous weeks."
In the meantime, the harvest in the southern zone, which marks the last part of the Chilean season, has already started. The harvest is slightly delayed and should be carried out more slowly, which means it should last longer than in the previous season when it came to an abrupt end."
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