China opens its doors to Uruguayan blueberry
August 16, 2016

China opened its market to Uruguayan blueberries, a fruit considered the fruit of the century because of its taste and health benefits.

In addition, the fruit sector will set its eyes on Uruguay and Argentina in September, when they will host the next -Blueberry World Congress, which is held annually in different latitudes.

Regarding the opening of the Chinese market for blueberries, Javier Grassi, general manager of Gamorel, the country's main producer and exporter of blueberries stated: "We are expecting the arrival of two Chinese inspectors in October to conduct the first shipment."

Moreover, Marta Bentancur, from the Union of Producers and Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables from Uruguay (Upefruy), confirmed that China had opened its doors to all Uruguayan citrus fruits, which entails great prospects for production and trade.

Uruguay's situation

The country started producing blueberries in the first decade of this century, but the climatic adversity and a varietal conversion have caused a decrease in the area over the past four years. In 2012 there were 492 hectares of blueberries and in 2015 there were 346 hectares.

Bentancur said the varietal conversion had been due to the strong competition from Chile in the markets. "The new varieties bear fruits earlier and we could enter the markets before Chile and achieve good prices."

The challenge is to start having the fruit in late August to avoid the strong Chilean competition in November. Currently, the supply of fruit begins in September and ends in December each year.

Regarding exports, the country sells its blueberry in the counter season of the northern hemisphere. The main destinations are the United States, Europe, especially in the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy and Belgium, and Canada. In total, 60% of exports go to the United States.

Fresh Plaza / Upefruy