GLOBAL – The International Blueberry Organization (IBO) has announced the appointment of Mario Steta, Operations Director for Driscoll´s in EMEA, as the new Chairman.

With his extensive experience, Steta will contribute to the ongoing global prominence of blueberries in the fresh produce industry, aligning with the objectives of IBO member-producing countries worldwide.

Steta, who previously served as Operations Director for Driscoll´s in EMEA, brings a wealth of knowledge to his new role.

He expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “The experience I’ve gained working for one of the leading berry companies makes me feel ready to embrace this role and the significant opportunities and challenges that face the global blueberry industry.”

He acknowledges the impactful leadership of the outgoing IBO President, Peter McPherson, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to industry collaboration and the development and promotion of blueberries worldwide.

McPherson, the former general manager of Australian company Costa Group’s berry business, held the IBO President’s position for eight years and played a crucial role in positioning blueberries as a global leader in the fresh produce industry.

McPherson, reflecting on the industry’s current challenges and opportunities, commented, “We are going through challenging times in the industry, such as the impact of the El Niño phenomenon on production in Peru this season, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the increase in transportation and input costs because of the global economic recession.”

“There are also many opportunities, including room for further growth, but the industry must focus on quality – that is the key to future success.”

The IBO, representing 14 member countries and over 90% of the world’s fresh blueberry production, has outlined key pillars of its strategy.

These include the expansion of supply and new production areas, transparency in information, and strategic positioning of blueberries as a superfood.

Steta emphasized his commitment to enhancing collaborative efforts within the IBO, integrating all stakeholders in the industry, and fostering interaction with other global produce sector members.

“We firmly believe that unity and transparency are essential for successfully navigating the dynamic and evolving challenges of this industry,” concludes Steta.

The IBO’s mission is to bring together leaders from the global blueberry industry, facilitating collaboration, information sharing, and addressing mutual challenges for the advancement of the health and sustainability of the blueberry sector.

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