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Chilean blueberries early production

Chilean blueberry production, as well exports, have gone up according to the Chilean Blueberry Committee Crop Report. Even though the shipments are still in small volumes, as the season has just begun, the exports which are currently at week 40, have doubled compared to the previous season. According to Andres Armstrong of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, Chile’s season came earlier this year compared to last year thanks to the weather as well as new varieties and covered production, which is now an increasing trend in Chile.

“Our exports have doubled until week 40 compared with what we had the last season around the same time. We do a weekly report on the stage of our crop as well as the status of our shipments and the same is communicated to the market,” explains Armstrong. Many Chilean blueberry growers have adopted tunnel production systems which put them at an advantage in terms of fruit protection, window of production and quality.

The committee projects the fresh blueberry exports from Chile to go up by 3 percent this year. On the other hand, the volume of frozen blueberry exports from Chile has gone up and now stands at 25 to 30 percent of the whole crop. Last year, 26% percent of Chilean blueberry exports were frozen.

“Chile is known for exporting fresh fruits but our export of frozen fruits is also going, up especially to North America and Asia,” explains Armstrong. One of the major competitors for Chilean blueberries is Peru, but according to Armstrong they are yet to feel the heat from that end in terms of volume, as the demand for blueberries is still high.

“There is room for growth, as more people are consuming our blueberries, our focus now is on increasing production. We are in the process of renewing varieties, now faster than before, probably next year we will begin to see increased production because of new, more productive varieties,” explains Armstrong.

Despite pest threats, Chile has been able to avoid most pests and insects, which has given its fruit industry an advantage when gaining access to foreign markets. He adds that 14% of the blueberry plantations are organic, being marketed both fresh and frozen. Some areas have been restricted from exporting fresh organic blueberries to the US market because of EGVM. The Chilean Blueberry Committee, in conjunction with the Chilean government, have invested a lot in marketing and market development for the Chilean blueberries.

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