Chile frozen blueberry format cuts into export estimates
An attractive price paid to growers for frozen blueberries cut into fresh format exports, which were some 15% less than expected in week 1 of 2011, according to the Chilean Blueberry Committee, citing data from fruit consultancy iQonsulting.
According to a committee report, the price paid to growers for fruit destined to be frozen has reached US $2 per kilogram, while last year the price stayed between US $.5-US $1.5, according to data from a separate consultancy, Rconsulting.
The higher price is due to lower stock of frozen blueberries in the U.S., and has increased fruit destined for frozen by 40% compared with last year. The Chilean Blueberry Committee expects this trend to continue for at least the next three weeks.
Despite the drop in exports, the season’s accumulated export balance is 31,487 tons, 3% above estimated export totals as the harvest reaches the halfway point.
Rain is expected this week in the southern growing region near the city of Osorno, another factor that is expected to delay harvest activities and as a result cut into export estimates. Although a slower harvest pace is expected as a result, fruit quality should not be affected, the committee said in the report.
The harvest is now focused in the southern central (Region VII-VII) as the growing region near the capital of Santiago wrapped up during week 1. The harvest in the southern region near the city of Curicó is advancing with the Briggita variety now 70% complete. Near the community of Parral, the variety has seen a 50% harvest thus far. For the Legacy variety, the harvest near Curicó is now 85% finished while in Parral it has advanced 50%.
The harvest of Brightwell in Curicó is 50% advanced and in Parral, 20%. The TifBlue variety is seeing the beginning of its harvest in the area.
In the southern growing areas (Region IX, X, XIV) the Duke and Legacy varieties continue to be harvested, as well as in some areas Briggita. The Elliot harvest is expected to start in week 5, followed by Brightwell in week 6.
Source: Chilean Blueberry Committee/ edited by www.freshfruitportal.com