The international director of Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Cort Brazelton, said Peru had to develop its blueberry processing industry but that the country had to continue focusing its production on fresh blueberries.
He stated that processed blueberries wouldn’t represent big business for producers, but that that industry would absorb the volume of fresh fruit that should not be exported to the international market, which would protect Peru’s image as a producer of quality fruit.
"It is important that there is a processing industry because it will allow producers to recover some of their investment. It is also important for the sector to be on the offense and on the defence," he said.
He noted that there were countries that had a more mature Blueberry industry than Peru, such as Chile and Argentina, which had had to develop their processing industry.
"Chile produces the Northern Highbush blueberry variety for processing in the South of its territory where the climate is suitable for the production of this variety that can be harvested with machines. However, the highest percentage of blueberries for processing comes from the discarded fruits or good fruits that have little post-harvest life and won’t reach the markets," he said.
In that regard, he pointed out that the Peruvian production of blueberry was focused on the fresh market because their varieties didn’t have enough Brix to have a high value in the processing industry. Thus, he said, this sector should only focus on the Latin American market.