Slow start for Argentine blueberry season
October 4, 2018

Argentina has so far this season only exported half as many blueberries that it had done by this time last year, with the first dispatches taking place three weeks later than in 2017.

However, Argentinian Blueberry Committee (ABC) president Federico Baya told Fresh Fruit Portal that even with the delay, he still considers this an early season compared to normal.

Shipments started during week 32, with expectations for 18,000 – 20,000 metric tons (MT) to be exported this season, which would mark a year-on-year rise of approximately 15%.

“We are advancing quite slowly since Argentina should be at around 800MT and we are at only half that,” he said.

“There is lots of demand in the market because the [Northern Hemisphere] seasons finished season. They need fruit from the Southern Hemisphere and Argentina is supplying them, but with low volumes.

“We estimate that in the next two of three weeks the airfreight exports are going to continue … and then we expect to begin the sea freight shipments, which are forecast to grow significantly compared to last season.”

Pier Giua, vice president of Hortifrut Expofresh and ABC representative, expects one-third of exports – around 6,500MT – will be sent via sea freight. Traditionally the country has shipped the vast majority of its blueberries via air freight.

About 70% of exports will likely to the U.S. and 30% to Europe, Baya said. The season will likely run until the end of December.