Paula del Valle will analyze the varieties of Peru and their post-harvest behavior during a blueberry seminar in Trujillo

The Doctor in Agricultural Sciences and international consultant will be part of the next International Seminar on Blueberries Trujillo 2022.

“You have to do a double check in each of the steps in order to achieve a better perfomance” Paula del Valle energetically points out, referring to what, in her expert opinion, is the best strategy to deliver good quality fruit to the destination market. 

In the city of Trujillo, the consultant specializing in blueberries will participate in the XXIII International Seminar on Blueberries Trujillo Peru 2022, giving the talk "Difficulties in quality and post-harvest aspects presented by the new varieties of blueberries in different producing areas of Peru".

Blueberries Consulting brings the experienced agronomist to be part of a program designed to address issues that challenge the Peruvian industry, with the aim of continuing to promote its development and participation in the international market. That is why the talk given by Ingeniería Del Valle is of great importance given the constant concern about the varietal replacement and the current problems in the logistics chain that have jeopardized the quality and arrival condition of the fruit.

Previewing part of the content that the attendees of the event will be able to listen to, Blueberries Consulting spoke exclusively with the rapporteur about the post-harvest results according to variety, the care given to them, and the climatic and geographical conditions faced by the cultivation of the blueberry plant.

How can fruit quality problems be detected early and what measures should be taken to prevent it?

Problems are solved by doing a good job during the production process; in nutrition, in pruning, in pest and disease control. From there, what can happen with the fruit will depend on the processes and operations, making a good harvest and evaluations in the days before it. We have to get to know the orchard, making analyzes, not only of quality in terms of firmness or color, but also considering other factors that are becoming quite relevant with the new varieties, such as analyzing pulp. Regardless of the technology that can be used to support the arrival of the fruit to the destination market, we must review and analyze my orchard prior to my harvest period on a regular basis to avoid losses. I cannot go two weeks before and decide that I am going to harvest in two more weeks, because if my orchard comes with a problem that is growing, it has to be managed beforehand. So how do I prevent it? Working in a good way during the season, in the weeks before the harvest and having a good harvest process.

What is the relationship of the variety with the climate or geography?

We are talking about living beings that respond to the climate conditions and the geography they face. This relationship that occurs is tremendously relevant and we have to understand it. So when a varietal characterization is done, we have an idea of ​​general traits, but we have to make evaluation plots for these varietal characterizations, in order to determine which variety performs best according to the zone. I have to evaluate how that plant responds to the particular conditions of the area in which I am producing; and if it is in the ground or in a pot, if I use a cover or if I work organically or conventionally. All these factors necessarily respond to the geography and the climate in which I am growing my plants.

Which areas present the greatest blueberry quality problems given the implementation of the wrong variety for their geography and climate?

There are well marked zones in Peru. In the Olmos area, so far, we can say that there is very low pressure from pests and diseases because it is a fairly dry area; we have little Botrytis but if other problems have been appearing that inevitably affect the quality and condition of the fruit, such as, for example, the Powdery mildew. This results in a fruit that is much weaker, travels poorly and at the same time has problems in the final condition in the clamshell. So you have to make a very careful selection at the harvest to be able to have a quality product and not risk reaching your destination with quite complex problems, especially in retail.

In the case of the most humid zone, La Libertad and Ica, although with different characteristics, there is pressure from Botrytis, which has been regulated, but there are varieties that have been more sensitive, presenting problems and complex performances in postharvest and in the clamshell. Therefore, it is necessary to make a cross between climate, geography, varietal characterization and response, and around that, work on proposals or plans for each operation in particular.

Are there varieties that guarantee a good quality of the fruit?

Nowadays there is nothing that guarantees that your fruit will have a good quality. If we can say that genetics improved performance from the point of view of firmness. But that does not guarantee that we will arrive in good condition. We have been realizing that we have to evaluate brix degrees, we have to make scales of pulp by variety, zone and operation. So, the only guarantee of being able to have a good quality and condition of the fruit in the post-harvest at destination, is having a good performance and development, giving the plants the best conditions so that it can be preserved in the best possible way. And that is doing a good job in pre-harvest, a good job in the harvest process and in everything related to this productive stage; the packing process, how I make the selection, how I do the work in the days before the harvest to be able to determine which area is in a position to be harvested. Re-entry cycles are tremendously important today, precisely with the new varieties, to be able to define and determine that we are at the optimum moment and that there is no past fruit. Because the blueberry has a great difference and physiological variability, so we have to constantly review our re-entry and our harvest cycles in order to have a better performance. In conclusion, we can say that we have very good genetics, but if there is no good work and I don't perform well throughout the process, unfortunately it will be very difficult to arrive with good quality. 

To learn more about the Peruvian blueberry industry listen to Paula del Valle and other prominent speakers at the XXIII International Seminar on Blueberries Trujillo Peru during June 6 and 7 at the Hotel Costal del Sol Wyndham Trujillo Golf. 

Catalina Pérez R.- Blueberries Consulting

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