Argentina: "We have the 75% of blueberry production protected with tunnels"

Integrity SA is a company that offers services to the Chilean fruit exporting market. Its three business areas are refrigeration, with more than 30 cold stores in Chile and Argentina; the packaging, thanks to its recycled PET plastic containers, manufactured in Santiago de Chile and Lima (Peru), and agriculture, with 82 hectares of blueberry plantation and 30 citrus in the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina.

Gabriel Fonzo Schlesinger, president of Integrity, explains that his company is a pioneer in the plantation of blueberries and tangerines in Argentina: "In December of 2002, in the midst of the Argentine economic crisis, we acquired 180 hectares in the region of Concordia, Entre Ríos". Despite the difficulties, he is very satisfied with the result, which encouraged him to also build a packaging, refrigeration and bromidation plant in the region to serve his own fruit and his exclusive customer Agroberries.

Integrity chose Argentina for this project because its harvest allows covering the demand between the end of the harvest in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the Chilean season, as well as the climate, the great fertility of the land and its low cost during the recession suffered by the country.

Cranberry production reached 600 tons in 2015, and Fonzo predicts that it will continue to increase over the next few years. "We currently have 82 hectares with blueberries and 30 hectares with citrus, which will yield space to replant blueberries soon", account. The prices of 2015 have also been higher than in previous years, due to the increase in demand and the decrease in supply.

Its traditional markets are the United States and Europe, but it also plans to expand to Asia.

During the spring of 2015, adverse weather conditions hit several blueberry fields, although Fonzo explains that their plantations are protected with tunnel greenhouses, which prevented the damage and even allowed to advance the harvest. Fonzo considers them the biggest advantage with respect to other producers in the area: "We have the 75% of the production protected with tunnels, which allows us to harvest independently of the weather conditions: wind, rain, hail or frost. In addition, we achieve higher quality and better conditions of the final product ".

Its objectives for the future are to cover the 100% of the plantation with tunnel greenhouses, to continue growing in the region and to improve productivity. The main goal is a harvest of 850 tons for the next season and 1.300 for the 2017.


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