Peru: Blueberry plantations to replace asparagus crops

The asparagus UC-157 variety, of which Agricola La Venta has 550 hectares (400 in Ica and 150 in Huarmey), has been, up until now, the company's star product. It is a product that will continue to shine in the coming year as the company expects to close this harvest at 9 million exported kilos, but, that won't be the company's only star product in the long-run, as the company is steadily progressing in its diversification plan. This is a new phase for the company, whose evolution can be observed in its revamped logo, which has much more purple than green, its former colour, prior to October.

In that face of diversity, this year the company began to complement its shipments of asparagus with Chinese peas and edible pod peas, of which they planted 20 hectares. They made this decision at the request of their European customers that were seeking to counteract the season in Kenya, Egypt and Guatemala. "Peru has a favourable window from August to November."

The company has also focused on cranberries, starting with the cultivation of a 10 hectare pilot project of the Emerald variety, which, if they get good results in quality and size, could be expanded by 50 hectares to 100 hectares.

"Blueberries are a project we are also starting to work on, but that will only show results in 2014 and 2015," Flores remarked. "We are presenting it now because it is important for us. The idea, however, is to replace the asparagus that we have in the northern fields with blueberries," he added.

As part of the company's commitment to diversity, La Venta is also venturing out into the grape business. To do so, they will cultivate the fruit in 208 hectares in Ocucaje, Ica, in the next two years. They plan to close this year at 108 hectares and, in 2014, the remaining 100 hectares. 70% of the varieties they will be producing will be Red Globe, 15%, Flame Seedless, and 15%, Superior. The company expects their first harvest to be ready in the 2014-2015 season, with plans to export mainly to Asia and a little to the United States.

La Venta has also invested in the strawberry, 2 hectares that, depending on the results, could be expanded to 25, and passion fruit, for which they expect to substantially exceed the volumes that they shipped in their first harvest (February-March), when they exported 40,000 kilos to the Netherlands and generated U.S. $80,000. Therefore, in 2014, they expect to export 150,000 kilos for $200,000. Shipments include frozen arils.

Under this scheme, regarding this year's revenues, expectations are that the company will grow between 10% and 15%, reaching 30 million dollars.


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