In the last five years, blueberry consumption has grown exponentially throughout the world and there are new markets to supply, such as China, India, and the United Arab Emirates. However, Argentina's production is in decline.
"Argentina initially started to produce blueberry as a counter-station product to supply markets in the northern hemisphere, such as the United States and Europe," stated in a radio interview Jorge Pazos, director of the Argentine Blueberry Committee and president of the Argentine Chamber of Blueberry and Other Berries Producers (CAPAB). "At that time, 70% of our exports were sent to the United States and the rest to Europe."
"Peru, which is much closer to those markets, entered the scene some seven years ago with much higher volumes than ours. In addition, Peru's workforce is not unionized and it has an agrarian promotion law and a series of conditions that have given it the opportunity to capture these markets, displacing us of our production window. They produce at the same time that we do.”
In fact, in the last decade, Argentina's export volume decreased from 20,000 tons to 12,000 tons a year and Peru reached 100,000 tons.
"Currently, our exports are destined for Asian markets and Israel, as market niches. We still have an opportunity to work with organic fruit, a product that Peru still doesn't produce. Argentina has managed to certify the production areas in an organized manner and that does give us an opportunity to continue in the activity," stated Jorge Pazos.
In 2018 the country managed to export to China. Unfortunately, it no longer exports blueberries to that destination. "Argentina has to pay a tariff to export to China and, despite the many efforts we made to certify our product and get them interested in it, the tariff is so high that it makes it impossible for us to work with China."
At the logistical level, the product was born oriented to air logistics, Pazos says, but over time it had to migrate to maritime logistics because of cost issues. "The costs and lack of containers caused concern in the sector because blueberries are a highly perishable fruit that must arrive in good condition," he stated.