The Chilean Blueberry Committee has announced fresh blueberry exports for the 2017-18 season are forecast to fall slightly year-on-year, although total production is expected to increase.
Exports of fresh fruit are expected to fall 2% to 101,700 metric tons (MT), while national blueberry production is anticipated to increase 4% to 150,400MT.
CBC executive director Andrés Armstrong said that in spite of the forecast drop in export volumes, the committee expected to have a better season than the last one.
“The previous season was very much affected by the earlier harvest, which led to us taking a lot of fruit to markets at a time when it was not expected,” he said.
“Although the forecast for 2017-18 is for similar exports to last season, the campaign is taking place within the normal harvesting period.”
The head of consultancy iQonsulting explained the slight fall in expected fresh blueberry exports was due to differences in the percentage of fruit exported as fresh and frozen.
“This season, stocks of frozen blueberries in the US are 26% lower than last season, which is likely to lead to a renewal in Chilean frozen blueberry export levels; something that we did not see last season due to the high stock levels in that market,” executive director Isabel Quiroz said.
Frozen blueberry exports are expected to reach 40,000MT during the 2017-18 season.
Peak fresh volumes are expected to come in week 49, compared to last year when they came in week 47.
Armstrong added that the CBC “works hard to ensure our producers and exporters obtain the best fruit with a quality that distinguishes us from our competitors by employing new technologies that support this goal.”