Peru, the land of "blue gold"

Peru, compared to other blueberry producing countries in the region, stands out for its very favorable geographical and climatic conditions, which allows it to develop an industry and a fairly planned season. The Andean country has positioned itself as the main blueberry producer in the southern hemisphere and the largest exporter worldwide.

In this context, our collaborators from Agroperú Informa interviewed Ing. Agr. Edgar Huamán Carbajal, director of Agromarketing Peru, who assures that local production will add 20 thousand hectares by 2025.

This is the interview conducted by Robinson A. León Trinidad, editor of technical reports at Agroperú Informa:

  • Is the blueberry business still profitable, Eng. Huamán Carbajal?

Of course, it is profitable for companies that already have a go-to-market dynamic and for those who want to enter with interesting areas. To evaluate profitability we are going to consider a first important aspect: income. While it is true, prices have been sincere in recent years, going from an average US $ 11.5 seven years ago to an average US $ 6.1 in 2020; productions per hectare have increased, from 12 t / ha to 24 t / ha. Carrying out this analysis we can say that the income of the exporting companies is maintained considering the price in the market and production.

  • What if we place ourselves in a pessimistic scenario?

- The lowest price that has been registered for the southern hemisphere in the last five years is US $ 4.1 (Chile), this makes us think about producing more per hectare or managing the genetics of the plant to achieve higher quality. The other factor to consider for profitability is costs and this is where we have to be vigilant. We must optimize resources, mechanization in tasks that are allowed and train human resources in sensitive tasks such as harvesting. This would reduce costs and obtain greater profitability.

Market demands

  • What characteristics must the fruit have to meet international markets?

- One of the major drawbacks previously had was the acidity of the fruit. This has been overcome year after year, it has been possible to obtain an important degree of sweetness due to the investment in genetics. What the market demands is firmness, "bloom" (natural wax on the surface of the fruit) and flavor.

  • In which markets should Peru concentrate its commercial efforts?

- The great country to conquer is China, which has tripled its blueberry imports in the last 5 years. In 2020, our main destinations were the US with close to US $ 530 million, followed by the Netherlands (42,7%), China (1,8%), the United Kingdom (7,4%), Hong Kong (133,2%), Canada, Spain, Belgium and Singapore. While the new destinations were Taiwan, the Philippines, Guadeloupe and Martinique, according to Figures from the ADEX Data Trade Business Intelligence System. Our flagship product will continue to position itself in the market because it occupies the first place in the group of so-called superfruits thanks to its multiple nutritional, antioxidant and medicinal properties, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

20 thousand hectares by 2025

  • What regions have the potential to continue expanding cultivation areas?

Berrie cultivation is mainly concentrated in La Libertad, followed by Lambayeque (mainly in Olmos), as well as in Lima (See table No. 1). The agricultural frontier can still be expanded since the crop adapts from sea level to 3.000 meters above sea level. We are talking about the entire Peruvian coast, also along the entire mountain range, highlighting that its best production is located in the coastal and inter-Andean valleys between 1.000 and 2.000 meters above sea level. The foreign berry has gained ground at a great speed, jumping from 70 to 14.000 hectares in eight years, between 2012 and 2020, and it is expected that by 2025 we will be at 20.000 hectares.

BlueMagazine

The full article can be found in the free specialized magazine BlueMagazine. Login to https://www.revistabluemagazine.com/publicaciones/edicion-2021/ and do not miss the news of the blueberry industry.

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