"We are improving our airports and, thanks to the work undertaken at the airport of Tucuman, blueberry exports grew by 58 percent," said President Mauricio Macri in his message to the Legislature.
Macri used the example of blueberries to show that infrastructure enhancements are vital for regional economies - these small universes that are very significant for the people living in different parts of the country.
The blueberry situation is very special. According to the Argentinian Blueberry Committee (CAB), in 2016 blueberry production and exports achieved a new record, but producers ended up having losses.
"Prices in 2016 were 25% lower than in the previous year," said Sofia Espejo to the specialized news site Agrofy News.
According to a census conducted last year by the House of producers, there were 2,750 hectares devoted to blueberry production. 1,300 hectares were concentrated in the Northwest, while the Northeast had 1,050 hectares, and Buenos Aires 400 hectares.
Much of the increase in exports was due to the increased demand from the United States. The US consumes blueberries especially at Thanksgiving. Tucuman exported nearly 70 percent of its production to the US.
What's the problem? "Our main competitor, Peru, has the ability to produce blueberries at the same time as Argentina at a much lower cost," the CAB stated. The report was replicated by Apratuc, an entity that brings together the producers from Tucuman.
Producers requested an improvement in labor and logistics costs to regain competitiveness. A few years ago, Peru only produced 2,000 tons of fruit. Two years ago, its production amounted to 25,000 tons, surpassing Argentina's production, which harvested 17,000 tons. Almost everything is exported.
"The regional economies need infrastructure to grow. We are implementing the most ambitious National Transportation Plan in history, which will generate tens of thousands of jobs and will lower logistics costs," Macri said.