Peru has become the world’s largest blueberry exporter in a short time, and its growers have big growth plans for this season.
Luis Miguel Vegas, the general manager of the Association of Blueberry Producers of Peru (Proarandanos), told Agraria that he expects export volume to grow 30 percent in the 2021/2022 campaign.
In the 2020/2021 campaign, Peruvian blueberry exports exceeded $1 billion with more than 150,000 tons.
He went on to say that Peru, who went from exporting 12,000 tons in the 2015/2016 season to more than 150,000 tons in the 2020/2021 season, is the largest exporter of blueberries in the world.
In 2020, 11 percent of the national GDP came from the agro-export sector, in which blueberries play a fundamental role.
Exports of this fruit has allowed the generation of more than 100,000 direct jobs in the 2020/2021 campaign, Vegas said. In 2016 there were only 2,300 hectares of blueberries in Peru, while in 2020 that number had increased to 13,600 hectares. At the end of this year it is projected to reach 15,000 hectares.
In 2016 Peru had 13 varieties of blueberries registered for export, while in 2020 there were 46 registered varieties, with Biloxi standing out as the most important variety throughout that time.
“Producers are looking for new varieties, they are always committed to having a better product that meets the demands of consumers who are increasingly more informed. You can have a very rich fruit, but the challenge is to maintain its condition when it reaches the destination market that is increasingly distant. There, the varietal issue tied to the operational issue has allowed Peru to position itself worldwide in this crop,” Vegas said.