Spain: The Atlantic company Atlantic Blue intends to produce more than 2016 tons of blueberries during 5.000

Atlantic Blue, a pioneer company in the cultivation of blueberries in Huelva, foresees a production in Spain in 2016 that will exceed 5.000 tons. It is even possible to reach 6.000 tons, although to achieve this goal it is essential to have the support of the weather.

At least this was recognized by the head of society, Antonio Ruix, during the official visit that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, Carmen Ortiz, made today to the facilities that Atlantic Blue owns in the municipality of Almonte. In particular, he said, that to reach the 6.000 tons it is necessary that "Winter ends well and spring begins better".

Atlantic Blue, which was created in 1993 and started exploiting 4 hectares of blueberries, currently has more than 400 hectares in the province of Huelva. The largest area is concentrated in the farms located in the vicinity of El Rocío, since in Aroche it has some 25 hectares.

During these years, the company has dedicated many resources to the search for new varieties of high quality blueberries that adapt to both the climate and the taste of consumers. This intense research work has paid off, by obtaining 13 varieties that are registered and licensed in the five continents.

For Antonio Ruix, of all of them, “The flagship of the company today is the one that bears the name 'Rocío'; although the others, such as 'Romero', 'Corona' or 'Lucero', cannot be diminished either, because each one fulfills its role throughout the campaign ".

Atlantic blue blueberries stand out, added the owner of the company, "For its organoleptic characteristics and its level of production. In addition to good taste, they have to have adequate size and conditions to support transport and to arrive in perfect conditions to the markets ".

Through the Royal Berries entity, which the company created in 2003, the R & D program is still operational, which is no longer exclusively dedicated to the improvement of blueberry varieties but has been extended to the search for genetic improvements in other berries such as blackberries and raspberries. Although to get an optimal material you have to have patience, because you need "Between 12 and 14 years for blueberries and about ten years for raspberries and blackberries", He said.

More than 95% of its production is destined for export. The main customers are the most demanding supermarkets in Europe, although they do not rule out opening new markets, such as Japan and the countries of the Middle East.

In this sense, the CEO of Atlantic Blue, Vicente Jiménez, commented that the company has started a process of expansion in Spain (with productions in Asturias and Galicia) and internationalization (with operations in Morocco and Peru), with which it aims to supply blueberries to the markets during the twelve months of the year.

In Huelva, the campaign that has just begun and continues until June, has its peak during the month of March. During the harvest, an average of 1.000 workers per day is given in annual computation (with peaks of up to 4.000 workers / day). Of these seasonal workers, the company houses 600 people per day in their own homes.

Invest in innovation

For her part, the Minister of Agriculture, Carmen Ortiz, assured, during the visit to the facilities of the Almonte company, that "The future of the Andalusian agri-food sector involves investing in innovation that has an impact on higher quality and better adaptation to both climatic and physical conditions and the tastes and needs of consumers".

The holder of Agriculture has affirmed that, thanks to the efforts that have been made in this sense, "The Andalusian countryside is a modern sector, innovative and highly technified, that grows every day and that supposes an economic potential of the first order".

Ortiz, after learning about the projects developed by Atlantic Blue, highlighted "Their constant effort to innovate and improve their production in a sensitive growing area, such as the Doñana area".

Source: Agrodiariohuelva.es

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