Rigoberto Guerrero, CEO of Hortifrut, at the XXII International Blueberry Seminar in Guadalajara:

"Berries are already the most exported product in Mexico, surpassing beer and avocado"

The opening day was attended by the main leaders of organizations and institutions linked to agriculture.

The XXII International Blueberry Seminar is taking place in the modern and gigantic Expo Guadalajara venue in Mexico, in which Mexican producers from different states of the country are actively participating, as well as many foreign visitors, as well as the most important international companies related to the cultivation of blueberries in their different areas and needs.

take care of the industry

The meeting, scheduled for two days (May 25 and 26), was opened by Jorge Esquivel, manager of Blueberries Consulting, the event's organizing company, who called on those present:

“We must stand out for belonging to an industry that travels along the path of sustainability; of responsibility towards the environment; that tries to be a pioneer in the application of clean technology throughout its process; and that it never leaves the hand of science and research for its development”, highlighting that the map of the cultivation and consumption of blueberries has spread throughout the planet, although he warned: “Not everyone can reach the industry and compete in equal footing. We have to take care of our industry, take care of our prestige and protect our business”, he stressed.

stick together

The opening day was attended by important leaders of organizations and institutions linked to agriculture, such as the Agricultural Council of Jalisco, which, in the words of its president, Andrés Canales, referring to the global challenges of the industry, declared:

“The best way to face these global challenges is precisely to stay united”, valuing the meeting in Guadalajara for replenishing the physical closeness between the different actors in the industry. Referring to the importance of the Mexican industry, he said:

“If we talk specifically about the production of berries, we know that more than 10% of all the berries consumed in the world are produced in our country. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are produced in 23 of the 32 states in the country”, he declared. On behalf of the public sector, the meeting was greeted by Alejandro Velásquez, general director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The opening day was closed by Mr. José Luis Bustamante, president of the National Association of Berries Exporters of Mexico, Aneberries, who highlighted the need to keep the industry united. "We are convinced that the union of all the links in our chain strengthens us," he declared, also highlighting the global and heterogeneous or diverse character that the blueberry industry currently has. "Today blueberries are grown next to palm trees, something we have never seen before," he said.

Challenges and advantages

"I think that all producers are clear that we have three main challenges: labor, water and agrochemicals," said Rigoberto Guerrero, CEO of Hortifrut Mexico, in his solid presentation: "Current situation of blueberries and challenges in the short and medium term”, in which he made a complete analysis of the data and figures that accompany the behavior of the industry in the market and the perspectives, challenges and opportunities that arise.

“Proudly we are already the number one product. As of the first quarter of 2022, berries are already the most exported product from Mexico, surpassing beer and avocado”, he stated.

The indisputable comparative advantage of the Mexican berry industry, which is only hours away from the world's main market, was highlighted and underlined by Miguel Ángel Curiel, vice president and general manager of Driscoll's, in his presentation: "The place of blueberries from Mexico in the North American market”.

From root to fruit

Blueberry cultivation and, in general, the blueberry business "is born at the root". This statement, which may be a play on words, becomes reality and is reinforced as a conviction when listening to the abundant delivery of knowledge from Gerardo Núñez, Doctor of the University of Florida, who, in his talk, "How to create optimal conditions for the roots of blueberries in the substrate”, clearly demonstrates that the radicular aspect of the plant is essential for its good development and productivity and is vital to obtain good results in the crop.

The "Strategies to optimize firmness in blueberry fruits" was the subject addressed by the renowned international specialist, Jorge Retamales, who was in charge of demolishing myths and clarifying doubts regarding the complex issue of firmness, both in its real meaning, related to with the qualities that are expected from the blueberry when it arrives at the markets and consumers, as well as the proper handling to obtain it, and the tools and methods that are applied for its measurement.

active participation

One of the highlights has been the rounds of questions that were made at the end of each block, in which the attendees actively participated, delving into each of the topics discussed and adding others that arise related to cultivation.

At the close, the agronomist Raúl Olivares spoke about the "Fundamentals of the production of blueberries in pots", a very relevant topic for an area in which this management system is preferred by berry producers and its use is spreading rapidly throughout the fields of Jalisco, and of almost all the Mexican productive zones.

The meeting continues today, addressing the issues of nutrition in its different facets and complements, exposed by Gerardo Núñez, Juan Hirzel and Flavio Lara, who will address the long-awaited topic, very relevant to producers, from different angles, based on their experience and research.

final day

The XXII International Blueberry Seminar will close with a Round Table, in which Gerardo Núñez, Flavio Lara, Juan Hirzel and Jorge Retamales will participate, in which each of the topics discussed during the two days of the meeting will be delved into.

Martin Carrillo O.- Blueberries Consulting

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