Peru may be on its way to becoming the world’s largest blueberry exporter.
Fresh Fruit Peru, a Peruvian agency specializing in commercial intelligence for the agricultural export industry, recently published preliminary figures showing that in 2019 Peruvian blueberry exports totaled 121,712 tons reaching a value of $810 million, elevating Peru as the world’s leading supplier of blueberries.
Comparing this to 2018, exports grew 69% in volume and 48% in value, this resulting in the fruit breaking three key records. This would move Chile to the second biggest supplier, who, according to the National Customs Services of Chile, exported $693 million worth of blueberries, 10% less than in 2018 and 14% less than Peru.
On the other hand, the blueberry would become the second most important agricultural export in Peru, exceeding avocado and coffee. The gap behind grape exports, the current main agricultural export of Peru, would be reduced to $56 million.
In 2008 Peru began testing the international market, sending sample shipments of blueberries. By 2014, exports skyrocketed adding $30 million and as of this year growth has been above 50% on average every year.
Three destinations accounted for 90% of the blueberry exports, those being the United States, the Netherlands, and China; accounting for 57%, 22%, and 10%, respectively.
Demand in the United States averages a 16% growth on a yearly basis in the last five years with 70,634 tons of blueberries worth $461 million being shipped in 2019; this being 77% more in volume and 62% more in value than in 2018.
The Netherlands comes in with a stronger growth in demand averaging a yearly 24% growth in the last five years and had 27,094 tons worth $179 million shipped in 2019.
China, possibly the most important destination, enjoyed a yearly average demand growth of 40% in the last five years with 12,258 tons worth $87 million shipped in 2019.
These results have pushed Peruvian companies to keep investing in the fruit. Fresh Fruit reports that the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (Minagri) estimates that 1,500 hectares are being added to the blueberry crop every year and by 2020 there will be more than 8,000 hectares, equaling 28% more than the previous year. At this rate, with a consideration of 40% growth in export volume and a 10% reduction in prices, blueberries could be the first agricultural product to ever surpass $1 billion in exports.