Chilean blueberries could grow 50% in five years, report shows

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Chilean blueberries could grow 50% in five years, report shows

A Chilean blueberry report has predicted a 49.7% production increase in the next five years, along with an increased share for the frozen category.

An iQonsulting report commissioned by the Chilean Blueberry Committee estimated blueberry production of 162,926 metric tons (MT) for the 2015-16 season, based on current plantings.

The market research expects exports will grow in the same proportion to 116,794MT in 2015-16,  while the share of volumes dedicated to the frozen product and industrial use will rise from 24% to 28%.

It is expected Chile will ship 78,000MT of blueberries this season.

IQonsulting executive director Isabel Quiroz said it was also important to consider the small storing programs that took place towards the end of the season.

"Last year there were exports until the second week of May, with the exports between mid-April and mid-May with fruit that had been stored," she said.

"It is estimated this share will increase as production increases and that technology will be available to extend the life of blueberries."

The report highlighted Chile has 12,901 hectares of the crop of which 18% are in formation, 31% are increasing production, 41% are in full production and 10% are in a state of declining production, although there are no signs yet of yield decline for the older crops.

Chile's largest blueberry-growing zone is the VIII (Biobio) region with 3,277 hectares, followed by the VII (Maule) region with 2,602 hectares and the X-XIV (Los Lagos to Los Rios) regions with 2,517 hectares.

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