Argentina slashed airfreight blueberry export volume this week
A "complicated" global market led the sector to cut its expected exports via airfreight by 70% in week 43.
An earlier season for key South American growing countries due to weather-related issues has led to considerable price falls for Argentine blueberries, particularly in the United States, according to industry players.
Well & Food international trade manager Eduardo Ramírez said volumes were ahead in Peru, Chile and Argentina meant fruit from these three countries was already in the market in October, when normally they came on the scene in mid-November.
"This advancement of the campaign led to a heavy volume of fruit that has had depressed prices to date," Ramírez said.
Argentinean Blueberry Committee (ABC) president Carlos Stabile said it was this critical situation that led the sector to cut its airfreight shipments by 30%, and the trend that may be repeated over the course of the coming weeks.
ABC data shows arrivals in overseas markets for the season until week 42 were up 119% at 7,266 metric tons (MT).
"We conducted an internal consultation between the most representative members to get to know the reality in better detail so we could inform them, and all agreed that considering the drop in prices, especially in the North American market, it was decided to reduce the amount of blueberry exports.
"If the situation does not change this measure will probably be repeated in the coming weeks."
For week 43 there was a total of 14 charter flights planned, of which only three actually flew. For the remainder of the fruit, the best quality product will be shipped on refrigerated containers bound for continental Europe, the U.K. and the U.S., while the rest of the fruit will go direct to the processing industry.