The International Blueberry Organization (IBO) is very pleased to announce Mario Steta, operations director for Driscoll's in EMEA, has been appointed as the new IBO chairman. Steta brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role and looks forward to continuing to enhance the global position of blueberries in the fresh produce industry and the IBO member-producing countries globally.

"The experience I've gained working for one of the leading berry companies makes me feel ready to embrace this role and the significant opportunities and challenges that face the global blueberry industry. Under the leadership of the outgoing IBO president, Peter McPherson, the IBO has established a spirit of industry collaboration, strongly focused on furthering the development and promotion of blueberries worldwide," says Steta.

Steta will succeed McPherson, formerly the general manager of Australian company Costa Group's berry business, who held the IBO President's position for eight years. McPherson's achievements include successfully hosting the IBO Summit in Australia in 2015, strengthening the organization by incorporating new member countries, including Poland, South Africa, and Morocco, positioning blueberries as one of the global leaders in the fresh produce industry, and developing annual reports focused on providing comprehensive data and insights on global blueberry production.

Mario Steta

"I look forward to Mario's leadership of the IBO and am sure he will do a great job. We are going through challenging times in the industry, such as the impact of the El NiƱo phenomenon on production in Peru this season, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the increase in transportation and input costs because of the global economic recession. There are also many opportunities, including room for further growth, but the industry must focus on quality - that is the key to future success," says McPherson. "Mario's experience at the helm of a company that has stood out in recent years for the development and introduction of new and better varieties is an example for the industry to follow. If he can pass on that knowledge to our members, I am sure the future will be bright and responsible."

The expansion of supply and new production areas, coupled with transparency in information and the positioning of this superfood, are fundamental pillars of the IBO's strategy. These elements are integral to strengthening the strategies of the organization's members.

Currently, the IBO comprises 14 member countries, representing over 90 percent of the world's fresh blueberry production. It also includes 60 associated companies, encompassing exporters and industry suppliers.

"One key challenge will be to further enhance the collaborative efforts of the IBO, striving to integrate all stakeholders in the industry into our organization and learn from and interact with other members of the global produce sector. We firmly believe that unity and transparency are essential for successfully navigating the dynamic and evolving challenges of this industry," says Steta.

For more information:
Jodean Robbins Duarte
International Blueberry Organization