Achieving the full potential of new blueberry varieties: Pot + professional substrates
Peru is an indisputable success story worldwide, it started from scratch and in just 5 years it managed to become the undisputed King in the production of Blueberries, in the period 2020-2021 it sent abroad a total of 162,459 tons for the amount of one thousand millions of dollars.
Currently, it is estimated that there are 60 different varieties cultivated in the national territory and with this, the value offer that Peru has to offer to markets around the world is expanded, according to the Association of Producers and Exporters of Blueberries of the Peru (Problueberries).
But this not only represents more opportunities, but also forces national producers to adopt the best technologies to produce more with less in a sustainable way and expand their presence in the competitive world market for fresh blueberries.
So, how to obtain the maximum potential in the new blueberry varieties to meet the standards required by international markets? To achieve this, we must have standardized production systems.
The potting and coco fiber substrate technology package has proven to be the equivalent to a blueberry factory, as it is the ideal production vehicle because:
- Reduces the risks of soil agriculture (pathogens, diseases).
- We achieved a much more standardized production by having a homogeneous medium for the development of plants.
- The plants are healthier and have greater root development, that is, more roots. Which ends up resulting in higher production.
- Reduce mortality.
- The bottom is more uniform and cleaner, also avoiding, with the complement of the ground cover, grass and weeds.
Now, it is no secret that water scarcity is at alarming levels worldwide. What happens then in the areas of Peru that have a good climate, excellent land, but do not have enough water? To address this restriction, the pot and coconut fiber technological package is a very viable option as it promotes greater moisture retention.
Thanks to our experience both with producers from the south and north of Peru with whom we have worked, the successful cases share with us that they save between 40%-50% of water when planting in a pot and coconut fiber substrate, compared to against the floor.
This is an important point for all the areas of Peru that have excellent lands, but a great limitation of water, since hydroponics also increases their productivity. For example, when migrating from soil to pot, instead of planting 100 hectares in soil, more than 150 hectares can be cultivated in pots.
New Varieties + Pots + Coconut Fiber
The pot and coconut package is ideal for new blueberry varieties, since normally the varieties that are planted in the ground are plants that have five, six, seven or even more years of life, therefore, they are less productive varieties (less kilos per plant).
So it is not just about developing new varieties that are more productive, with more caliber (size) and that are more "travelling" (in 2021, due to international logistical problems that arose, blueberries even took up to 60 days to be able to go from Peru to Asia), but to accompany them with the ideal vehicle that allows us to have more plants per hectare and, in addition, do it in a sustainable way by being much more efficient in the application of water resources.
We are reaching a crucial moment in the blueberry industry. The only way to protect it and continue to be a good business for everyone is differentiation As producers we have to invest in quality in specific varieties and in post-harvest handling, as well as in technology to continue with strength in international markets and that this leads us to have a better sale price. and, in this way, that the blueberry industry can continue to be profitable not only now, but in years to come.
By: Eng. Raúl Mercado.
Raúl is a hydroponic farmer, located in northern Mexico. He is passionate about substrate technology and research and Agtech in sustainability. He is co-founder and
CEO of DIDIHU Global. He is 100% foodie and loves discovering flavors around the world.
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