US: Peru demands greater market share
With the end of the domestic season, the market switches to imports from South America and Mexico. At present, according to a trader, the supply is coming mainly from Argentina and Peru and, to a lesser extent, from Mexico. The volumes from Peru and Chile are expected to continue increasing in the coming weeks. “In general terms, larger volumes are coming from South America as a whole,” states a trader. He reports that both Argentina and Peru expect to grow by 20% this season.

Peru appears to be ready to play a more dominant role in the US market. The country can take advantage of the gap usually left between the Argentinian and Chilean seasons in December. In those weeks, Peru will ship greater volumes, according to the expectations of an importer.

The demand for the berries is good and therefore prices are slightly higher than last year. The lower limit is around $ 20 FOB, but can rise to $ 30. A trader affirms that with Thanksgiving and the holidays in December around the corner, the demand for blueberries will likely increase.

Argentinian blueberry exports on the rise
Argentinian blueberry exports have increased by 35% in the period up to week 40 compared to the same period a year earlier. The country exported 4,234 tonnes of the berries, compared to 3,111 tonnes in 2016.

The growth has been recorded in both air freight and sea freight. In the former category, the volume has grown from 2,849 tonnes to 3,383 tonnes; an 18% rise. For sea freight, the growth rate is 213%, with an increase of 272 tonnes to 851 tonnes. “As growers, we have made a better planning and have consequently had a better season,” affirms a producer. Given the situation in the previous year, the sector got ready this season introducing several changes in production, logistics and trade. For instance, more attention has been paid to sea freight than to air freight.

Exporters see good opportunities for this season, taking into account the situation in neighbouring countries. “In recent weeks, Peru has been exporting more to the US, even though they previously preferred shipping to China,” explains an exporter. Chile seems to be lagging behind the estimates. “That is very important, because we are optimistic about the prices for weeks 48, 49 and 50.”

Australian market remains good
While the cultivation areas in the south won’t start harvesting until December, the northern production areas have been on the market since June. Then the season kicks off in Queensland and the north of New South Wales. Despite the rainfall of recent weeks, there is a good market for the fruit. Traders report that blueberries have been one of the most popular products in recent months.

According to figures from the Australian Blueberry Growers Association, 4,500 tonnes of blueberries are grown annually. Of this, 75% is marketed for fresh consumption on the domestic market, while another 15% is exported to Asia and Europe and 10% goes to the processing industry. Production is expanding rapidly and growers are keeping their eyes and ears open in order to find new markets. In late 2015, Australian berries gained access to the Indian market.