Opinion: The Danger of Inbreeding in the Blueberry Industry
The market is an ebb and flow of up and down cycles of products that are born and die every year. Very few remain, not just because of the trade war, but also because of changing culture, fashion, or habits. In the case of food, not even bread or water have assured their permanent position in the consumer market.
The case of sugar, salt, milk or flour, for example, shows that, although they were staples in the human diet, they can also be replaced. The same happens, or can happen, in the case of vegetables and also in fruit.
The blueberry is the youngest in the international fruit market and the one that has expanded the fastest globally, imposing itself as an acquired taste on the palate of consumers from very different cultures and from different regions of the planet. Not only that, but in a very few years it has been possible to include blueberry in the human diet of the vast majority of the countries in which it is marketed.
In general, markets for certain products are born and grow because a company - or a group of them - creates a product and powers it with the weapons of marketing and advertising to create demand. This is the classic way the market is built. Then competition is unleashed, and the strongest or most resilient company will stand.
In this framework, it is very rare for an industry to develop collaboratively among its multiple actors, as is the case of the blueberry industry, which has done so hand in hand not only with producers or exporters, but also with the participation of scientists, researchers, academic centers and specialized media, who have permanently disseminated the qualities and benefits of the fruit. All in a collaborative environment, constant transfer of information and knowledge. Directing efforts to the expansion of the crop around the world and the continuous improvement of its fruit.
Benefit for all
In the conclusions of the last IBO carried out in Peru, they refer to this “atypical” phenomenon of the development of the blueberry industry:
“… What is not normal for blueberries is the degree to which the industry achieved great success through a unique level of collaboration and openness, by working on issues that benefit everyone. This started with a passion for farming and a collegiate approach with others in the industry. This part of the blueberry story has done much to create the opportunities that so many have enjoyed to date. "
The danger of inbreeding
We must never forget that the success of the blueberry expanding throughout the world has been achieved in this way, collaboratively, transferring the maximum amount of information and knowledge regarding the different aspects of the crop, both in its agronomic and commercial phase, and considering all industry players as protagonists with rights, on a higher or lower level.
If we begin to travel down the path of inbreeding, and the industry begins to close only to the actors most closely linked to each other, thereby losing the open and participatory environment, and the collaborative mode in which the industry has developed up to now , then we will be witnessing the end of this surprising commercial phenomenon that has meant the irruption of blueberries in world markets, and that we have all achieved.
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