Peruvian blueberries: exports expected to grow 25% to 350,000 tons

According to data published by the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCRP), Peruvian blueberry exports reached 210,000 tons in the latter months of the 2021/22 season. In January-October 2022 alone, Peruvian blueberry exports have already surpassed the total exports for all of 2021 (207,000 tons), an increase of 36.4% year-on-year. As of October 2022, Peruvian blueberry exports reached $1.1 billion, up 20% year-over-year.

In the first week of 2023, Peru exported 4.708 tons of blueberries, 28% less than in the same period of the previous year. Nevertheless, Peruvian blueberries have exported 301.389 tons so far, exceeding the previous season by 27%. More than 62 blueberry varieties have been registered or are in cultivation in Peru, with high yields and consistent production being the focus of variety development. High yielding, firm, large fruit, high sweetness, low acidity, crispness, and ability to withstand long periods of refrigeration are more popular with Peruvian growers.

Luis Miguel Vegas of the Peruvian Blueberry Producers Association said Peru has shipped about 90 percent of the season’s blueberries and is now at the end of the season, which is expected to end in the last week of March. The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war and the resulting market ripple effects, as well as high oil prices, will make 2023 as challenging as last year. Although Peruvian blueberry sales will grow, the season still faces challenges such as increased freight costs and higher costs for agricultural products due to the international environment.

The current strike in Peru has directly led to financial difficulties for producers and exporters; fewer and fewer workers are coming to the farms each day, harvesting is often delayed and the number of blueberries available for export is reduced accordingly; due to poor road traffic, the harvested blueberries are facing obstacles to reach the ports or airports in time, and exporters are experiencing delays in receiving ships at the ports. Compared with the northern region, the southern part of Peru, where road access is still limited, is more severely affected. In addition, workers and packaging materials are not reaching the farms on time.

One of the main goals for Peruvian blueberry exports in 2023 is to significantly increase exports in regions with a low market share, such as Israel, while Asia is also a key area of focus, with Peru working to open markets in countries such as South Korea and Indonesia. So far, the number one export market for Peruvian blueberries this season is the United States, with 55 percent, followed by the Netherlands with 25 percent.

According to Luis, 2022 Peruvian blueberry exports peaked at 21.333 tons in week 38, 33% higher than the previous year’s peak, with total shipments of more than 277,000 tons. Despite positive growth in blueberry exports in most weeks, there were weeks when exports were lower than previous figures due to losses to agribusiness caused by the crisis triggered by political unrest. 2022 losses for the main export crops of blueberries, fresh grapes, avocados and mangoes are estimated at $250 million after the end of the unrest.

The social unrest that erupted in Peru in late 2022 forced producers to delay harvesting, resulting in piles of fruit that must be harvested and shipped in the coming weeks. 2023 Peruvian blueberry exports are expected to grow by about 25% to more than 350,000 tons. Higher harvest volumes in the first three months of the year, along with newly planted orchards that began producing fruit in the second half of last year, have combined to drive growth. The increase in blueberry exports will not bring a corresponding increase in value due to falling prices on the international market, according to Peruvian fruit consultancy Fresh Fruit, which expects total blueberry exports of $1.7 billion in 2023, up 21 percent from the previous year.

Source: International Fruit and Vegetable Report

Post time: Feb-13-2023