Early production of blueberries in Chile
Production and exports of blueberries from Chile have increased, according to the latest report of the Chilean Blueberries Committee. Although the volumes are still quite small because the season has just begun, exports have doubled compared to those of the previous season. According to Andrés Armstrong of the Chilean Blueberries Committee, this year’s season has started earlier than last year thanks to weather conditions, new varieties and protected cultivation, which is a growing trend in Chile.
“Our exports have doubled up to week 40 compared to the week we had last week. We produce a weekly report on the state of the harvest and shipments, and we communicate it to the market,” Armstrong explains. Many Chilean producers have adopted production systems with tunnel greenhouses, which gives them an advantage in terms of protection, quality and the production window.
The committee estimates that exports of fresh blueberries from Chile will increase by 3% this year. In addition, the volume of frozen blueberry exports has also increased and now accounts for between 25% and 30% of all production, while last year the figure was 26%.
“Chile is famous for exporting fresh fruits, but our frozen fruits are also being exported more and more, especially to North America and Asia,” Armstrong continues. One of their biggest competitors is Peru, but, according to Armstrong, their volumes still do not hinder them much, as there is a lot of demand for blueberries.
“There is room for growth as more and more people consume our blueberries, and now we are focusing on increasing production. We are in the process of renewing our varieties, now faster than before, and next year’s production is likely to begin. Increase thanks to new and more productive varieties, “Armstrong predicts.
Despite pest threats, Chile has been able to avoid most pests and insects, which has given its fruit industry the advantage of being able to access foreign markets. Armstrong adds that 14% of cranberry plantations are organic, and are marketed both fresh and frozen. The United States has restricted exports of fresh blueberries from some regions because of grape cluster moths, although the Blueberry Committee of Chile and the Government of Chile have invested heavily in marketing and market development for Chilean blueberries.