Export of Chilean blueberries increases 22%
According to information provided by the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (ASOEX), and the Committee of Cranberries of Chile, the recent export season of fresh blueberries, 2014-2015, ended with more than 91 thousand tons sent to the different target markets, a figure that represents an increase of 22% with respect to that registered during the 2013-2014 exercise.
In terms of destination markets, North America (United States and Canada) continues to be the main market, concentrating the 67% of exports, and this is where most of the results of the season are played. On the other hand, Europe and Asia, continue to grow in participation, this season reaching increases of 23% and 10% respectively. The increase in shipments to Asia in the season was 40% and Europe 27%, while the United States and Canada grew an 20%.
"These growths in Asia are explained by the large increase in shipments to China over 45% and South Korea in more than 49%. All of which reflects the efforts of the Chilean industry to develop post-harvest technologies that allow to arrive with fruit in good condition and quality"Said Ronald Bown, President of ASOEX.
For his part, Andrés Armstrong, Executive Director of the Committee of Cranberries, said: "Although it was not reached the estimated volume at the beginning of the season of around 100 thousand tons; the figure reached reflects the return of the growth of the industry and a new historical record, exceeding in 5% the shipments of the 2012-2013 season".
The dynamics of the shipments of this season was marked by the advance in a week of the beginning of the peak weeks, and the unforeseen impact of the great frosts of September of 2013 in the production of this campaign. Finally, when an anticipated end of the season was already expected, the favorable climate of the southern regions allowed to count with a greater quantity of fruit with condition for fresh export, than in previous years.
"Clearly this season had fewer surprises than the previous season and the increase in volume allowed us to better supply our target markets, and in short, have a very positive season. However, at the end of the campaign we had some situations that did not favor us. The contraction of the Chinese economy and the situation of some importers that faced judicial issues created a less favorable environment to market our fruit, together with the large supply of other fruit species in that market, affecting demand. In the case of Europe, the situation of the Euro exchange rate also impacted our offer towards the middle of the season. Finally, in the United States, the port stoppages of the West Coast, and a lower demand for climate issues, strongly affected the results in the last few weeks in that market"Armstrong added.
The representative of the Committee also indicated: "Looking with more perspective the evolution of our industry I think we can be very satisfied and optimistic. Since the creation of the Blueberry Committee, the efforts made by the associated companies to improve and encourage the consumption of cranberry, together with seeking new markets, show very positive results season after season. Today we see the expansion of consumption in all markets and we have diversified our offices".
A consistent effort of the Committee that has had the fundamental contribution of Prochile, and also Corfo, to implement actions focused on positioning Chile as the leading supplier of fresh blueberries of the Southern Hemisphere.
At the same time, when it comes to the way in which Chilean blueberries are sent to the different markets of destination, Andrés Armstrong, said: "Chile has an important advantage after developing the capacity to use maritime transport as a very efficient option for our exports of fresh blueberries. This allows us to reach the markets in a very competitive way, preserving the quality and condition of the fruit. While air transport we use it to the extent that it allows to accelerate shipments when the market situation requires ita".
In relation to the challenges and strategies that must be assumed by the Chilean blueberry industry to anticipate possible scenarios, they will undoubtedly be marked to closely follow the evolution of the exchange rate in Europe and the situation in the Russian market. While in Asia, specifically in the Chinese market, we must bear in mind the economic slowdown that this nation is experiencing, and that could affect the decision to continue with the increase in current exports.
"It is also important to consider that today the competition is growing. There is a productive growth in the countries supplying blueberries, but also new players entering with force, which is why it is important to renew our varieties quickly to face the increase of future competition, with better post harvest and productivity, maintaining our leadership as a blueberry exporting country of the Southern Hemisphere", Expressed the professional of the Committee.
Finally, the President of ASOEX, Ronald Bown, said that the Port Paros - that at the end of the 2014-2015 season were presented in Chilean and US ports, affecting the normal shipments of the national fruit-, are also a point that should be approached with the seriousness that is required by the competent authorities, mainly in Chile, because they not only affect the concretion of exports in the foreseen time and the fulfillment of the programs agreed in the different markets, with the consecutive economic damages for the sector and the condition of arrival of the fruit, but also influence a negative image and confidence as a supplier country.
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