Argentina closes blueberry season at projected volume

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Argentina closes blueberry season at projected volume

With a slight decline compared to the 2011-12 season, Argentina ended the 2012-13 blueberry campaign with a total 15,069 tons (MT) down from 15,803 MT, the Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC) reported.blueberry_cluster_ffp

"Before week 37, the initial committee estimate was 15,486 MT and that projection was already completed considering that the difference between the estimate and the real number is very small," the ABC reported.

The first exportable fruit volumes were recorded in week 35. In the specific case of the U.S., exports began timidly in week 37 - the same period as last year - at a time when the supply from Oregon had not led to the starting prices for earlier production.

By contrast, the U.K. received shipments starting in week 35, when shipments from Poland had decreased strongly.

The ABC said that during the first weeks of the season there was greater volume. In week 42, however, storms, rain and hail affected production in Concordia and decreased volumes sent from Concordia and Buenos Aires.

Target markets

During this season, the U.S. maintained average annual shipments, claiming 63% of total exports.

Meanwhile, Europe maintained a 30% share, showing change from the previous year for the proportion from the U.K., which went down from 18% to 16%. The European Union, on the other hand, showed growth from 12% to 14%.

"Both Asia and Canada showed a slight decrease, continuing on with the closure of Argentine blueberry exports to Japan," ABC reported.

Of note was the opening of Argentine blueberry exports to Israel with cold treatment before export. It is expected that shipments to said destination will increase next season.

"If you do a more detailed analysis by destination in terms of ETA, the shipments to the U.S. were greater than estimated, with the values coinciding with the week of arrival but with a big difference in terms of air and sea shipments," the committee said.

In the case of the U.K., the projections were also close to reality, except for in weeks 44 through 46 in which predictions were twice of what actually arrived.

For the European continent, the estimate was slightly lower than the real value, while the overall balance in Europe met estimates.

A feature of the 2012-13 season was the decline in overseas shipments, which dropped from 21% in the previous campaign to 7% in the current season. In the case of the U.S., maritime shipments dropped from 10% to 1%.

"This could be due to fear of losing fruit quality during sea freight. Various exporters said that clients asked for air shipments, which surely has had a negative impact on returns, since the lower price of ships was not obtainable," the committee explained.

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