Peruvian blueberry prices on the world market are lower despite the 28% increase in exports

Despite the fact that Peru exports 28% more blueberries to world markets, average prices have been lower compared to last year. The country reached 33 markets with 217.000 tons of blueberries exported until the end of last week (week 46), says Luis Miguel Vegas, general director of Proarándanos. “We ship 52% ​​more to the United States, 31% more to Europe, 14% more to China and 2% more to other destinations compared to the previous season.”

The war in the Ukraine, as well as the high costs of inputs, are reducing the margins of blueberry growers in Peru, says Miguel Vegas. Proarándanos is the Association of Producers and Exporters of Blueberries of Peru. “This season the average FOB price has been $5,47 per kilo, last season it was $5,85. On the one hand, the prices are lower than in the previous season. In Europe, the consequences of the war affected sales. On the other side of production, costs have continued to rise.

“As 99% of the fruit in Peru is shipped by boat, that has a big impact on costs. Ocean freight costs remain high and have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, meaning the per-hectare margin for growers has decreased. They are in a situation where market prices are low and input costs are rising. The international context made the costs continue to rise, which is why we have made this announcement, so that the different parties are aware of the increasing costs. The blueberry sector in Peru is no stranger to this global context. We must be aware that conditions have changed; margins have tightened and are tightening. That is why it can be described as a difficult season”.

“We expect freight costs to begin to normalize to pre-pandemic levels. Let's hope that the markets also respond better. They have to continue encouraging our producers for the good of the sector, because we can offer an availability of 52 weeks. We have a great product, Peru is doing a good job, and we can supply a constant supply of good fruit throughout the season. We have the conditions to supply excellent blueberries throughout the year."

Other markets and the near future

Blueberries from Peru are offered to more markets than in previous years. In addition to its main markets, the US, Europe and China, the other markets include the rest of Latin America (Central America and Brazil), the Middle East and Asia, including India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore.

Peru currently has 18.000 registered hectares, with 65 different varieties planted. "There has been an evolution, in 2016 we had 1.932 hectares with 13 different varieties. In 2016 Biloxi was the main variety, now it only represents 25% of the total plantations. We have increased the hectares planted with newer varieties.”

“We have already seen the replacement of older varieties with new ones. We do not see large investments to increase the planted area. Companies are substituting older varieties for newer ones. We see that companies have many test plots, with about 10 varieties planted, but in the end they only choose about 4 or more suitable ones. We don't see future volume growth coming from new acres, but from more productive acres that have been renewed and as the plants mature we will see them become more productive. Our annual growth is 1.000 new hectares, while five or six years ago we saw a growth of 3.000 hectares per year. The growth in hectares has slowed down. In the next four or five years we will see greater growth in volume thanks to the new, more productive varieties," concludes Miguel Vegas.

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