As the current hotter than usual weather, caused by the El Niño phenomenon, is impacting and lowering Peru’s 2023/24 blueberry harvest, producers and the industry body Proarandanos have cautioned they will likely not see the record numbers this season.
Photo: Luis Miguel. Blueberries being sold on a local market in Peru.
According to Luis Miguel Vegas, manager of Peru’s blueberry organisation Proarandanos, their main variety Ventura is significantly affected. They are also busy determining how much lower the volumes will be with another crop update expected.
“The weather this year, whose average is four 4 to five degrees Celsius above usual, has been impacting the pace of blueberry production, with emphasis on certain varieties. One of the most affected is a variety which has historically represented 35% of exports. But there are others, some even in their first year in production, which have been having an excellent response despite the hotter weather. This year Peru projects a significant drop in volume, but we will continue with an important offer to supply the markets, supported by the diversity of varieties, some recently introduced, and producing regions. You can expect a lower volume this campaign, but in terms of quality the Peruvian offer promises to continue delighting the markets,” explains Miguel.
The latest blueberry export figures from Peru to China for week 33 (14-20 August, 2023) shows a 73% drop in exports to China compared to the same time last year. Overall 37% less has been exported to China during the current 2023-2024 season. Peru’s blueberry exports to all markets up to week 33 are 76% lower than last season and 36% down overall.
Photo: Luis Miguel.
A large blueberry grower and exporter from Peru cautions the market as follows: “It is important to mention that the blueberries are very short in Peru. The market should know this in order to avoid those companies who are still thinking Peru will again have a mega crop, which is totally wrong. If we can come to the 2021 numbers we will be okay.”
As part of his work duties Miguel travels throughout Peru to set foot on as many blueberry farms as he can. “Last week I had the opportunity to visit farms in the north, starting from Paita heading south to Trujillo. That’s six farms in three days, almost 1,000 km of seeing different varieties and sizes of operations. It was very good to be able to be on the ‘court’ watching the evolution of the campaign, sharing experiences with specialists in the field, in a difficult campaign due to the hotter than normal weather,” stated Miguel.