Colombia has been working hard to position its blueberries as the country’s next big fruit and is attracting international interest, an industry representative says.
The country hopes to offer diversity among blueberries suppliers from the region, according to Camilo Lozando, who represents Colombian Blueberry Growers' Association Asocolblue.
Speaking to FreshFruitPortal.com, he commented: “We have been setting up larger investments and have Chilean investors."
Not only has the country garnered interest from investors in neighboring countries in South America, but also from Spain, North America, and Mexico.
“Currently there are about 500 hectares planted," Lozando added. "But we are hoping that in the next year or two, we will pass 2,000 hectares planted in significant programs.”
He said Colombia could one day play an important role as an alternative South American supplier.
But there is still a lot of work to be done for this to happen.
For instance, certifying land with international organizations will be key. This would allow Colombia to enter into the market in the best possible way.
“[Phytosanitary watchdog] ICA and other plant-health related entities have also been very attentive in creating studies and protocols which are necessary to open new markets. Colombian blueberries still do not fulfill those criteria,” Lozando explained.
Study finds sweeter fruit
In a bid to boost demand for Colombian blueberries, Asocolblue has carried out a comparative flavor analysis with Colombian and Mexican universities.
"They have found higher Brix. So, there is an interest in the fruit," he said.
He went on to say: “We consider that these accumulations of sugar and sweetness in our fruit are related to how the fruit is produced. Keeping in mind that the highest average altitude at which we grow in the country is around 2,600-3,000 meters above sea level”.
“We believe could be a differentiating factor for us to make use of in the future”, he commented.
He added that the growth of the Colombian blueberry industry comes as the country strengthens its position internationally in many other fruit items such as avocados and tropicals.
“As we have been adding products to the export fruit basket of the country, we will continue finding better conditions," he said.
"Both logistically and in terms of security, quality, and market admissibility, Colombia is in a good place to take advantage of their position."