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Chile blueberry growers plan to maintain export volume in 2020-2021

Chilean blueberry growers expect a slightly larger crop and similar export season in 2020-21 as last season.

Andres Armstrong, the executive director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee within Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) BB #:156234 Santiago, presented the first estimate for the 2020-2021 season, with Chilean blueberry exports to reach 154,050 tons.

Of this, 111,550 tons will be fresh blueberries (2 percent more than the last season), and the remaining 42,500 tons will be frozen blueberries (0.2 percent more than the last season), as reported by Simfruit.

“We project that this new season’s fresh blueberry export volumes will be very similar to those of the last three seasons. As an industry, we are focused on our work throughout the whole chain, from the producer to the end customer,” Armstrong said.

In the 2019-2020 season, the Chilean Blueberry Committee celebrated their 10-year anniversary while also starting to implement their new quality system.

This system is based on five fundamental pillars: the correct variety selection; proper pre-harvest; harvest; and post-harvest handling of the fruit; and the verification of the finished product based on quality standards that are up to date with the market requirements.

The implementation of this quality system has led to an increase in exports of new blueberry varieties, as well as varietal replacement within the sector.

While another positive aspect to the upcoming season is that there is a greater availability of water, a byproduct of the latest rainfalls in the country, especially in regions V, VI, and VII.

In dealing with the coronavirus, the committee has indicated that all the necessary safeguards will be taken to guarantee the health of all those involved in the supply chain.

“People’s health is priority number one, and the corresponding protocols are already being implemented,” Armstrong said.

“Although it is a challenge, we are sure that, as has happened with other fruit species in Chile, we must maintain a consistent supply to our markets. On the other hand, blueberries adjust very well to the new requirements of consumers, who are favoring fresh fruits and foods that help them improve the immune system and strengthen health.”

Marco Campos is Media Coordinator, Latin America for Blue Book Services