US: Low prices for Argentinian blueberry

Argentinian blueberry prices in the US have dropped compared to last year due to an overlap with domestic supply, according to reports from various importers. Jim Roberts, sales vice-president at Naturipe Farms, confirmed that prices have been low because North American producers finished later than normal.

"What really happened was that the North American season lasted longer than last year." He said that they expect Michigan to finish soon, Oregon and British Columbia to do so this week, and Washington to continue until 15-20 October.

Although the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has yet to give official data on prices, Roberts said that the FOB tax in Miami currently stands at US$ 37-8 for 12 unit boxes with 6-ounce containers.

Michael Schiro, JAC Valdenburg's blueberry section manager, agrees with Roberts regarding the price drops. Both importers described the early Argentinian shipments as good in terms of size, colour and flowering.

"We have been very pleased with what we have seen; not a single problem with the quality of the fruit that has arrived," said Roberts. Schiro mentioned that they expect to increase Argentinian blueberry imports by 15% due to "the growing demand" from their clients.

For his part, Roberts pointed out that he expects to import 30% more this season. "For us Argentina fits into a strategic time of the year when not much fruit can be found in the market. Argentina plays a key role during the transition stage before Chile is ready to supply."

Argentinian supply is expected to reach its peak later this month. Chile's produce should come on the market in late November.

Source: Latinberries

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