The constant increase in demand for the superfood in Europe and the United States, plus the opening of new markets in Asia and the Middle East, has increased competitiveness among producing countries, demanding rapid changes from those with mature industries and strategies with a high level of technology and innovation for those who are entering the complex global market.
That is why it is necessary to be up to date with the projections of the competition and its technical-commercial strategies, in order not to lose competitiveness and avoid ending up farming with low income prospects. Cort Brazelton, who will be one of the speakers at the next XXI International Blueberry Seminar Morocco 2022, organized by Blueberries Consulting, exhibited during the South American Blueberries Convention An analysis of the major exporting industries and the future powers in global blueberry production.
Starting with the host country of the next event organized by Blueberries Consulting, Brazelton highlighted the competitive advantages of the producing areas.
In the north of the country, the farms located around Larache and Moulay Bousselham, the production coincides with the area of Huelva, in the south of Spain. "The concentration of its harvest is in April and May, although with volumes increasing in March/February given the increase in plantings of earlier varieties. But above all it is a spring area (northern hemisphere) together with the south of Spain”, explains Brazelton. Even when they compete during the same period, Morocco has the advantage of having a skilled labor force at a lower cost than Spain.
On the southern regions of Morocco, the Co-CEO of Fall Creek stated: “Agadir and Dakhla are different. They have a more important role in the counter season, colliding with the time of Chile. Agadir has plantations that start harvesting in October/November with peak production in February/March. And Dakhla has many more volumes concentrated in the winter (northern hemisphere), becoming an increasingly interesting source of supply for the European winter." Despite the privileged location and commercial window of the country, both Dakhla and Agadir have limited land and water, making it difficult to expand blueberry crops.
In Morocco, the most widely planted varieties are Sekoya, Ventura, Corrina, Eureka and Kirra. "The trend is that most of the plantations are with new varieties, and varieties that present a level of differentiation in the market due to their firmness, their flavor, and that also adapt well to this market," he explained.
According to data collected by the Fall Creek team in Morocco, in 5 to 10 years the volume will increase by more than 170.000 thousand tons, while between 8.000 and 10.000 hectares will be planted by 2030.
“It is in many ways, the origin of the non-chill world,” said the leader of Fall Creek about the North American country. Mexico currently has 9.061 hectares, which would double by 2031, projecting a production of 180.000 tons for the same year.
Within the producing regions, Jalisco, Michoacán and Guanajuato stand out given their long production windows, starting with lower volumes in October and reaching their production peak from December/January to March, being able to continue harvesting until May/June. “The advantage of central Mexico is that it has cool nights and hot days. Mexico has the potential to produce a high quality product, especially with the new genetics, and has the benefit of proximity to the US and Canada. There is also a growing domestic market in Mexico that is remarkable,” Brazelton stressed.
Sinaloa (2.050 ha), the second region with the largest area planted after Jalisco (3.450 ha), does not enjoy the same climatological advantage; their volumes go out from March/April to the first week of May, when the heat level is high. In this regard, the expert said: "Sinaloa today is not positioned to deliver the same quality of fruit as central Mexico. There is good fruit coming out of various private and university programs, but in general they have the disadvantage in the production window and the quality of the fruit."
Cort Brazelton finds similarities between the Mexican and Chilean industries, however, he stressed that the North American industry has mostly evergreen crops, and the industry “has more than 80% substrate, sophisticated systems. The same in Morocco”.