Argentina's blueberry hotspot closing with increased volumes

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Argentina's blueberry hotspot closing with increased volumes

Argentina increased its blueberry shipments by 13% this year with the fruit-growing province of Tucumán upping volumes by 20%, website reported.

Tucumán Blueberry Producers Association (APRATUC) president Luis D’Andrea, said good weather and well organized logistics meant fruit quality in 2011 was excellent.

Storage improvements at Tucumán's airport speeded up transport with four flights a day going to the U.S. via LAN, Skye Lease and Tampa airlines.

D’Andrea told the website prices in the U.S. at the end of September were not as good as the same time the previous year, although this was offset by higher demand in Europe due to lower Polish volumes.

Major challenges were rising labor costs, freight and packaging. In particular, state subsidies such as universal child allowance meant many laborers didn't want to register for temporary farm work for fear of losing benefits.

Tucumán accounts for 40% of the country's production followed by Concordia at 37% and Buenos Aires with 20%. To date the Argentine blueberry industry has shipped 15,493 metric tons (MT), compared with 13,699MT for the previous season.

The Argentinean Blueberry Committee (ABC) expected to record shipments of 168MT and 26MT

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