Last year, the Peruvian fresh produce business exported 1,000 tonnes of blueberries to markets including the US, the UK and other European countries. Now, a substantial programme of plantings will see its production rise to approximately 2,000 hectares by 2016 - an area that will eventually yield 30,000 tonnes of the fruit a year.
Camposol produces blueberries throughout the year; although exports from the southern hemisphere traditionally occupy the September to December window, focussing on the weeks up to November before Argentinean and Chilean product. However, with the production of a number of licenced varieties being trialled as a part of the new plantings, Camposol is hoping to extend supplies of southern hemisphere product to Europe until the end of March.
The growth is the result of Camposol’s investment of more than US$140 million in blueberry plants, packing facilities and equipment and which the company says it expects to create an additional 10,000 jobs. Camposol is embarking on a building project in Peru to house the influx of workers and their families in the areas around the new growing regions. This will include schools, health and transport services and other key infrastructure elements, and forms part of its stated commitment to CSR as its business increases in size.
Camposol is also highlighting the fact that its blueberries are produced using integrated production methods rather than using pesticides.
Expansion into blueberries is part of a diversification project that has seen Camposol develop a broad portfolio of fresh fruit and vegetables, and develop direct supplies into European markets and the US.
Chief commercial officer of Camposol, José Antonio Gómez, said: “Camposol is extremely excited about the prospects for blueberries in the UK and Europe. We have seen tremendous growth in this category in these markets already, and we believe there is great potential for further expansion, so this fruit is a very important focus for us.
“We are already providing European retailer customers with high quality, great tasting fresh products, such as avocados - along with the traceability, food safety, environmental and social corporate responsibility they require – and have developed strong relationships in the process.
“Of course these are early days, but we are now making extremely promising progress with blueberries. I am confident that the flavour, reliability of quality and all-round delivery of the fruit Camposol is supplying in increasing volume will, in a relatively short period of time, see us become one of the most significant suppliers of southern hemisphere blueberries to these markets.”
Camposol also expects to be supplying frozen blueberries to certain markets.