Raúl Olivares, Senior Consultant at Blueberries: "The market increases and I do not see a risk of saturation"

"I think that the advantage is those globally integrated companies, which can deliver a homogeneous product all, or almost all year, cultivating new genetics that offer an attractive product to the consumer."

The experienced Senior Blueberry Consultant, Raúl Olivares, with several decades in the industry, refers to various aspects of the blueberry industry based on the premise that blueberry, along with berries in general, is the category of fresh fruit that most It has increased in its consumption globally, according to its data.

“Some studies say that if half of the households that consume strawberries also bought blueberries, the demand would multiply in the coming years. From that perspective there is a lot of room to grow, but undoubtedly this must be accompanied by excellent quality, continuous supply and reasonable prices ”, he says.

Peru and Chile

Regarding the region, he believes that Peru's growth is very promising, supported by a climate that allows it to produce year-round, with rapid plant growth, and can opt for the best price windows (September to November). He cautions, however, that his industry has to overcome the logistical challenges posed by this expansive offering, including having the necessary manpower, defining the varieties that really work, and hoping that the political context is not counterproductive.

As for Chile, it states that its industry has its best opportunities in the curfew space when Peru goes down (November) and before Mexico or Morocco are strong (March), “but it must improve the quality and diversity of its offer to be competitive and so that the most demanding markets do not skip it as a supplier ”.

"Organic production is one of Chile's strengths, especially in the southern zone, given its natural conditions, with good productions and reasonable costs compared to the competition," the expert highlights.

The industry in the future

There are currently several theses circulating in the industry. There are those who assure that the Peruvian oversupply not only hurts prices, but can saturate the market and permanently degrade it. There are others, on the other hand, who argue that blueberry consumption is increasing, so the increase in supply has room and should be maintained. And others who are about to close the industry by raising income standards to ensure the sustainability of the business, so we ask you:

  • With which of these looks do you feel closest?
  • As I said before, the market increases and I do not see a risk of saturation. Obviously there will be a lot of competition, between different producing areas and also between companies in the same area. I believe that the advantage is those globally integrated companies, which can deliver a homogeneous product all, or almost all year, cultivating new genetics that offer an attractive product to the consumer. I don't think that in today's world it is possible to "cartelize" production, closing the entry of new members to the industry. You have to compete with excellent quality and sustainable costs, and in this scenario the advantage is those who are closer to the markets.

Finally, in the current context of Chile, which has Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with most of the countries in the world and preferential benefits for the entry of Chilean fruit to the most important markets on the planet, we ask you:

  • Do you think it hurts the Chilean agro-export industry not to approve TPP-11?
  • The TPP-11 should be approved shortly. The interest shown by the United Kingdom and China in integrating it is an indicator of its relevance for world trade in the coming years.

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