Cold hour levels favor strong Argentine blueberry crop

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Cold hour levels favor strong Argentine blueberry crop

The Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC) has highlighted very good growing conditions this year, which should bode well for a season that just began recently in week 33. Arándano-_56671291 npanorama

Committee general manager Ines Peláez tells exports are expected to hit 17,500 metric tons (MT) in 2016-17, with the first shipments of the campaign already shipped to the U.S. and the U.K.

"The good thing is that this year there was a winter. Last year there very few cold hours," she says.

In 2015 there were just 260 cold hours, compared to 660 this year, which she emphasizes will favor the harvest.

"In 50 years we have not had a winter so uniform and continuous," she says.

"What we have here is exceptional flavor because of the weather we've had and the varieties we've planted, as a significant varietal conversion has taken plae."

The industry used to mainly work with the varieties O'Neal and Misty, but Peláez says they have been replaced almost completely.

She adds a large part of the surface area is dedicated to varieties that adapt well to Argentina's geo-climate, such as Emerald, Snow Chaser and Star.

"In Argentina the sector is consolidating more than anything," she says.

"You have to remember we had a big crisis until 2008-09, with a very significant reduction in hectares and it took time to adapt.

"After that, growers worked very hard with the issue of varieties and starting with varietal conversion, I believe that Argentina's real potential will start to be seen."

Additionally, she says the sector is working on completing a protocol for exports to China.

"We are in the final stage, and although we don't know when the signing will be done, we expect it will be done by the end of this year."

Argentina is also working on access protocols for the Taiwanese and South Korean markets as well.

With Uruguay, Argentina will be hosting the International Blueberry Organization Summit this year, to be held from Sept. 20-22. Click here for more details. 


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