The Chilean headquartered Agroberries with farms and offices in both hemispheres are excited to reap the benefits of their investments in new farms and varieties to keep growing with over 43 000 MT of berries already marketed in 2022. According to Juan Pablo Vogt, Commercial and Logistics Manager of Agroberries: “In Peru we keep growing with double digits. The export season already ended there, with more than 17 000 MT of blueberries marketed.”
“In Chile we are already past our production peak and expect Agroberries Chile to export a total volume of 8 000 MT, plus some extra volume of third growers, all which are commercialized by our subsidiaries in US and Europe. The volume of Chile will be lower than the previous year, mainly as we are moving from some old varieties,” states Pablo.
Agroberries is a vertically integrated producer, marketer and global distributor of fresh berries. This is mainly from owned operations, but also from third-party growers, with berry production in Peru, Chile, Mexico, US and Morocco, with more than 2 500 hectares of blueberries with many more to come in the upcoming years says Pablo.
He describes the current season as very good, explaining the thinking behind customers switching between Peru and Chile’s offering of berries. “We had some great quality in Peru, especially on the new varieties that have been growing very fast over the past seasons. Now the first fruit from Chile is arriving, and so far it looks good, though it’s not the same as the one from Peru as it has different attributes and challenges. Furthermore, the overlap between Peru and Chile has provided an opportunity to customize our offer according to our clients’ preferences. Some customers choose to continue with Peru, whilst others have made the switch to new season Chile, as soon as the fruit has become available. Volumes at the start of this year are increasing due to the arrivals of the peak of our Chilean season production, where we should have some interesting volumes as to keep supplying our customers through their counterpart season.”
“After a prolonged period of exceptionally low prices, most likely due to the peak of the Peruvian season, it has been very difficult to increase the prices again to the level of previous seasons, even when the volume of arrivals has declined. December has been traditionally a month where supply is lower than demand, thus pushing prices to increase in the run up to Christmas. However, we didn’t see this happening this year in the magnitude seen on previous years. There was more volume available from various sources and the market understood how to cleverly adjust demand to supply, keeping prices on the low. High inventories of Peruvian fruit seen in November were pushed into December, which also helped to fill the gap between arrivals and demand that we generally see at the end of the year,” comments Pablo.
“North America is our biggest market, where we supply the main supermarkets in the US and Canada all year-round, through our local subsidiary Berry Fresh. In Europe, Germany remain to be our largest markets, followed by Eastern European countries, Scandinavia and The Benelux, and we also move some big volumes in UK, All of these are sourced by Agroberries Europe. This season, we have also retaken the China Market, where we plan to have the biggest jump in the coming seasons, where our Genetic Renovation Program will be the main support,” states Pablo.
“We have built strong long-term relationships with our customers, offering them the flexibility and quality they require. With the new farms in Peru, Mexico and Morocco we are completely covering the window of the counterpart season, having a reliable source of product throughout this part of the year. Also, the advantage of having only premium varieties established since the beginning of last year, something we will continue to do during 2023,” says Pablo.
Focus on variety development
“In this context, Agroberries is investing largely in securing the best varietal genetics, developing a program that combines proprietary breeding selection developments and exclusive long-term partnerships with leading breeders around the globe. One of the varieties that’s stands out the most of our genetic program is Swett Karoline, which is a blackberry variety with a great taste and quality that is already highly demanded by the markets. And in Blueberries the big growth has come by the hand of the Sekoya varieties with more than 5 000 MT expected for 2023. With both conventional and organic fruit, we sell in more than fifteen countries. Thanks to our integrated model, and our geographically diversified production assets, we can reduce agronomic risks and cash-flow volatility through access to packing and distribution fee-based business facilities,” explains Pablo.
“As the world evolves faster every year, the ability to rapidly adjust to these changes is a big part of the game. By being vertically integrated, together with our highly experienced team, we are confident we will keep supplying the right product at the right time,” concludes Pablo.
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Juan Pablo Vogt