Chile forecasts slight rise in blueberry exports
The Chilean Blueberry Committee has forecast exports this season of 94,276 metric tons (MT), marking a 3% year-on-year increase.
“Everything incidates that it will be a very good season for Chilean blueberries, with the quality and taste that has characterized us over the years," Chilean Blueberry Committee executive director Andrés Armstrong said.
"We continue working on promotion and market development to take Chilean blueberries to different parts of the world."
The season saw slightly higher temperatures than last year, which brought the campaign forward by two weeks compared to the previous deal, although it should be noted the 2015 season was delayed due to a cold spring.
A release by the Committee added that earlier varieties from the Valparaiso region to the south had been affected by frosts in mid-September.
The Maule, O'Higgins and Metropolitan regions were most severely affected, and it is estimated around 20% of early variety volumes could be affected in those areas, equivalent to around 2,000MT.
In addition, it was noted there were currently high inventories of frozen blueberries in the U.S., which could incentivize growers to sell to the fresh market.
By the end of the first week of October, Chile had exported 229MT of fruit, according to the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy (ODEPA). Of these volumes, half had been sent to China, with 40MT going to the U.S. and 31MT sent to Japan.
Export volumes from the Maule region are projected to rise 35% year-on-year to 31,650MT this year, while exports from the neighboring BioBio region are set to fall 4% to 28,240MT.
Peak volumes from Chile are expected in weeks 51 and 52, and then again in week 3 next year.