Argentina works to improve raspberry, blackberry production

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Argentina works to improve raspberry, blackberry production

Between Argentina's Alto Valle and Neuquén, there are up to 800 hectares of blackberry and raspberry crops that supply the local market.raspberry_63294517

In an interview with, Patagonia Fine Fruit Growers president Abdel Raúl Sandón spoke about the fruits' production and efforts to improve technology for the crops.

Sandón said maximum consumption in the country of the berries reached 1,700 tons (MT) a year. Due to inclement weather, however, the number has fallen to about 1,500 MT.

"We've had climatic problems that have affected the valley and the mountains. Heat waves also hit plantations last year, which had consequences for this season. The plants suffer a lot from climate change and in Neuquén, we have highs of up to 40° or 42°C (104° or 108°F)," he said.

Making improvements to the system

Considering that a large part of production is individually quick frozen and that the fresh market offers better prices, the organization hopes to improve logistics and the packing system. Improvements seek to start at the production level.

"The project involves working mostly on a commercial platform and adding technology to plantations to improve output per hectare," he said.

"The nation is developing projects to test crops under cover, crops under partial shade and adding technology like drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation. Through this we will achieve a micro climate to lower the temperature and improve crop conditions."

There are also projects underway to implement new cold storage systems and packing for the Andean region to improve transport of the fruit that travels up to 1,200 kilometers during distribution.

With respect to international distribution, Sandón explained that the local industry cannot compete due to high internal costs and inflation.

"The problem is the high production cost. Inflation is also absorbing a lot of the profit," he said.

Due to economic difficulties, Sandón said the government should offer concrete solutions.

"We make proposals to improve the financial system and sector profitability, but the decisions are from the government. All the measures taken have been patches that don't focus on the core of the problem we're having," he said.

Despite this, Sandón said the organization's projects are expected to yield good results.

"We're still testing but we know it will be positive and that the project will give good results. We have done small scale tests and the results have been promising," he said.

The organization currently includes 25 to 30 producers and cooperatives that work toward improving crop conditions for the domestic market.


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