South American Blueberry Convention brings industry together

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South American Blueberry Convention brings industry together

On April 18, more than 700 members of the blueberry industry, including producers, exporters, and marketers gathered at the Monticello Conference Center in Chile for the second edition of the South American Blueberry Convention.

The event, organized by Yentzen Group and the Chilean Blueberry Committee – ASOEX, covered the main challenges of the blueberry industry in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay, with presentation and conversation panels led by industry leaders and relevant international guests.

Gustavo Yentzen, President of Yentzen Group, welcomed the attendees to the event. He said that the blueberry industry in South American countries is living different realities, which have been affected by a variety of factors.

Gustavo Yentzen, Founder and President of Yentzen Group

"The region is affected by the same international variables, but with very different internal realities in terms of politics, economics, and production challenges," said Yentzen. 

Iván Marambio, president of the Chilean Association of Fruit Exporters (ASOEX), pointed out that "this event is very important, as it is the first time that the Blueberry Committee of Asoex co-organizes this type of event together with Yentzen group. It is a new stage for the Committee, especially in the way we meet with the industry, since the important thing is to get together and share the messages that we think will make the industry grow."

"We believe that it is vital to transmit to producers, exporters, the logistics chain, and in general to all stakeholders what we think will make us grow in the future, where quality, varietal change, and the logistics chain play a key role," added Marambio.

The country with the biggest growth in the region is Peru, as shared by Luis Miguel Vegas, general manager of Proarandanos Peru, who said that the country has increased its volumes by 20 times between 2015 and 2020. Varietal reconversion and optimal weather conditions are the main factors driving growth. 

Gonzalo Salinas, Senior FAR Analyst at Rabobank, was provided a global analysis of the sector. He commented on the industry trends, explaining that the main markets have been affected by unexpected factors.

"We faced something absolutely unexpected, which is the war in Europe and in between a pandemic, and all this affected supply and altered the logistics chain," he said.

Salinas also said that the industry has had to face changes and one of the main ones is the changes in production.

He recalled that the sector went from exporting more than 200,000 tons, with a total of 75% of the exported fruit, to far exceeding these figures.

"In the middle of the decade, we began to see changes with the integration of Peru, Mexico, Spain, and Morocco. And we reached exports of 400,000 tons. In the last season, Peru led the world supply, where Chile lost participation and the rest of the countries as well," he said.

Regarding the production system, Salinas mentioned that there is a shift from a traditional approach to a more global one, where "we see plantations from different regionsof the world and we have seen how China has begun to be an important producer that has relevance in consumption since it does not export much."

Overall, industry leaders agreed that quality, varietal replacement, and logistics are the main challenges for the sector.

South American Blueberry Convention

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