Uruguay's blueberries become second-largest fruit export
Blueberries have become the second-largest fruit export in Uruguay, said a report from the Instituto Uruguay XXI, according to local news website LR21.
In 2009, Uruguay exported 1,164 metric tons of blueberries, valued at US $8.6 million. Most shipments went to the U.S. ($3.9 million) and the Netherlands ($2.3 million), the website said.
Uruguay began large-scale growing and export of blueberries in 2005, according to industry group Berries de Uruguay.
Citrus remains king, though, with 268,620 MT produced in 2009. Of that, 48% was oranges, 35% mandarins, 16% lemons and 1% grapefruit, the website said. Oranges, mandarins and grapefruit are grown on the northern coast, accounting for 84% of all citrus harvested, while lemons are mainly grown in the south.
The success of citrus is attributed to good irrigation management, which has boosted the plants’ productivity, according to the report, the website said.
“One of the factors that helped reverse a season that was going badly was good management of irrigation, which gave priority to the early varieties, such as mandarins, after which the drought caused the depletion of water sources,” Gonzalo Arocena, technical secretary of the Chamber of Citrus Exporters of Uruguay, is quoted as saying.
As for apples, most are exported to the European Union. In 2009, exports were valued at US $1.7 million and went to the Netherlands, Italy, France and Switzerland. Exports of pears and quince were valued at US $1.1 million and went to Italy, Brazil and the Netherlands, the website said.