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Mexico: Colima's the country's second biggest producer of blueberries

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-03-29  Views: 6
Core Tip: In recent years Colima has been one of the country's major producers of blueberries.
In recent years Colima has been one of the country's major producers of blueberries. This fruit has many benefits for human health and many desirable features from the nutritional standpoint, as it enhances the immune system, is rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron and calcium, and is an excellent antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and disinfectant.

National Production
According to the latest data available from SIAP (Agricultural Food and Fisheries Information Service), between 2005 and 2015 blueberry production had an average annual growth rate of 53%, going from 260 tons in 2005 to 15,488 tons in 2015.

The main blueberry producing states in Mexico, by volume, are Jalisco with 7,989 tons (52%); Colima with 2,188 tons (14%), and Baja California with 1,875 tons (12%), which together account for (78%) of the 15 488 tons of blueberries produced in Mexico in 2015.

State production
According to the SIAP, the area planted with blueberries in Colima has increased at an average annual growth rate of 11.3% between 2012 and 2015, going from 222 hectares to 306 hectares. Meanwhile, production increased at an 18.5% rate in the same period, going from 1.318 to 2.188 tons. As a result, the State of Colima ranked second in the national production ranking.

The main producing municipalities, in terms of value are: Coquimatlan ($81.8 million pesos), Villa de Alvarez ($ 47.4 million pesos), and Cuauhtemoc ($7.9 million pesos). The remaining outstanding producing municipalities (Colima , Comala, and Minatitlan) contribute $ 17.2 million pesos. The total value of the state's production amounted to $ 154.4 million in 2015.

Marketing

Colima's blueberries are the latest product of the food industry to enter the international market (2012). Its main destinations are the US and Canada. This product is consumed fresh and processed.

In the last 10 years, per capita consumption in the US increased by almost 200% (USDA / ERS 2012). The biggest markets for this fruit are the states of California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois, which together account for 37% of the total market.

Weaknesses
Blueberries must be handled delicately; they are highly perishable in the short term; have a complicated maintenance process; require a high level of investment per hectare; have a small scale production to meet demand, and are produced far from consumption centers. In addition, the sector has a low participation in nationwide organizations, there is a lack of inter-agency coordination; a low direct participation in foreign markets (producer-consumer); and a lack of development of agro-industries located in the state. Furthermore, air transport is very expensive so the leading producers have opted form maritime shipping, which is much cheaper but also slower, which can affect the fruit's quality.

Moreover, there is a shortage of real and updated information regarding the number of planted areas, productivity, varieties, job creation, value and volume of exports. This lack of information makes it difficult to efficiently evaluate how profitable the business could be for local agricultural producers.

Opportunities
There is a high international demand for dried blueberries for culinary, pharmaceutical, and medicinal purposes, among other things. International customers are willing to pay high prices for this fruit. Producers can take advantage of the trade agreements Mexico has signed with, Europe, Asia, and Japan. Exports to the Netherlands, France, and Spain, recorded a significant increase; and producers have the possibility of placing increased production volumes in new destinations by shipping their products by air from Jalisco.

The sector also has the possibility of positioning the fruit from Colima as it has quality certifications, according to European standards, and organic production.

Colima has some additional advantages thanks to its privileged health status and because its climatic conditions allow producers to apply fewer chemical treatments in the production process, which reduces the costs.

Recommendations

-Increasing the supply and variety of blueberry products.

-Promoting the industrial development of Colima's blueberries, so that the pulp and juice sector uses this fruit.

-Identifying different products that have a growing demand in the domestic and international markets and the feasibility of developing them, producing them, or selling them using the fruit harvested in the state.
 
keywords: blueberries
 
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