Argentina has had a very good winter this year, and the temperatures were adequate for the correct development of the different blueberry varieties. On average, there were 158% more cold hours than in 2015 and expectations are that plantations will have a higher production potential nationwide. "We expect 17,500 tons for this campaign, 17% more than the 14,900 tons achieved last year. If this increase in volume is distributed in growth curves and has a more widespread high peak, then we could expect a stable growth and that in turn would support the price of Argentine blueberries," said Carlos Stabile, president of Argentina's Blueberry Commission (ABC).
By achieving a more stable productivity this campaign, Argentina would be able to continuously cater for different markets from September to December. "The most important achievement of the Argentine producers, apart from having succeeded in extending the supply of blueberries for four months, has been to maintain the quality and taste of the fruit. Other producing countries haven't had the same chill hours we have enjoyed, which means our plants will achieve a higher Brix, so the fruit develops a taste that is much more pleasant for consumers," the president of the ABC stated.
Additionally, we have to consider that the opening of new markets for Argentinian blueberries is in constant progress. We have big expectations in Asian countries. "While we can not yet export to China, we are in the process of analysing the requirements of the inspections procedures, as well as sending a pilot shipment. If these pilot shipments are successful, the Chinese consumers could be revelling in our blueberries in 2017."
Although we rightly focus on the huge potential of the Chinese market, the real challenge for Argentina is to put a proper logistics management in place because the distances involved in shipping this delicate fruit are so great. "I have no doubt that the experience and proactivity of Argentinian producers' will allow them to resolve this issue before exports can begin next year. We will discuss issues related to exports and new markets during the IBO Summit 2016, which will be held in Uruguay later this month. This will allow us to have a clearer picture of what this opening will mean for all concerned," concluded Stabile .