ARGENTINA – Argentine blueberry exports faced a 25% decline this season, reaching 6,400 tons compared to the previous season’s 8,500 tons, latest Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC) report reveals.

Jorge Pazos, secretary of the ABC, delved into the nuances of the season and the sector’s challenges, highlighting the market dynamics and the pursuit of niche markets amidst challenges in global supply chains.

Pazos noted that despite the reduced volume, the season presented satisfactory prices due to market oversupply concerns, particularly when Peru floods the markets with high volume.

This situation often triggers a downward price trend, but with reduced Argentinian supply, buyers regulated prices upwards, boosting profitability for local growers.

The latest ABC report showcased market fluctuations, with notable growth in the UK, Canada, the US, and the EU, yet declines in China and Asia by 35% and 55% respectively.

Reflecting on the US market, Pazos acknowledged a 40% drop in Peru’s output, stabilizing prices and enhancing profitability for Argentinian producers.

He emphasized the industry’s need to invest in genetic research for highly productive varieties that align with market demands, outlining future strategies.

“The horizon of the industry is to work with new varieties, expand our area, and continue exploring niche markets, such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Israel, India, and Brazil,” Pazos asserted.

Amidst the season’s conclusion, Pazos reiterated the industry’s satisfaction, having sent 90% of the volume via airfreight to various markets.

The US constituted 38% of total exports, with 3,000 tons sent by mid-November, underlining heightened interest in Argentine blueberries due to limited southern hemisphere fruit supply.

Pricing remained favorable owing to the limited market fruit supply. Despite Argentina’s comparatively lower volume, the season was tailored to meet market demands, providing solutions amidst climatic challenges. Prices surged, doubling the usual rates, offering a more optimistic outlook for the industry.

The Argentinian blueberry industry focuses on niche markets, primarily organic fruit, constituting 80% of their production.

Pazos emphasized the strategic shift towards alternative markets such as Indonesia, Brazil, Israel, and China, marking a revival in the US market, which was dominated by Peru previously.

Addressing market flooding challenges, Pazos stressed the necessity of coordinated efforts among Peru, Chile, and Argentina to manage blueberry shipments and stabilize prices for a mutually beneficial return for producers. “Flooding the blueberry market has caused a drop in prices, which hurts all producers,” Pazos lamented.

Despite the downturn in exports, the Argentinian blueberry industry remains resilient, navigating challenges and strategizing for sustainable growth in niche markets, showcasing resilience and adaptability in a competitive global landscape.

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